Though the organizers did not cite a reason for calling off the festival, various media reports citing industry and festival sources said the cancellation was due to a recent interpretation of Georgia’s gun law, which permits firearms in public spaces, including parks.
Weapons and explosives of any kind are prohibited at the festival, according to its website. Gun rights advocates had mounted a pressure campaign against that position, calling into question the festival’s ability to restrict firearms since Georgia allows guns to be carried in parks.
Sources with knowledge of the cancellation decision by operator Live Nation who spoke to Rolling Stone cited Georgia gun laws as the reason.
Georgia gun advocate Phil Evans told CNN he emailed festival organizers in May, apprising them of Georgia gun laws and a Georgia Supreme Court case dealing with guns in which he was a party. Evans said he also asked the City of Atlanta to deny a permit to Live Nation for Music Midtown, given the festival’s ban on firearms.
In the email dated May 13, Evans asked the city to deny the permit for “as they have publicly stated an intent to violate settled state law.”
“The City of Atlanta should respect state law and uphold it when dealing with entities that make use of tax-payer owned properties that wish to make money from such usage, or even otherwise,” the email said.
The event slated for September 17 and 18 in Piedmont Park was canceled “due to circumstances beyond our control,” said the organizer’s tweet.
“We were looking forward to reuniting in September and hope we can all get back to enjoying the festival together again soon,” the organizers said.
Atlanta City Council President Doug Shipman said it was a “sad day” after the cancellation was announced.
“Public policy has real impacts and in this case- economic and social implications on a great tradition,” Shipman tweeted.
Ticket refunds will be processed automatically within the next 24 hours, organizers said.