Music Midtown Strikes the Wrong Chord


Smells like a Teen Spirit -- and like lots of corporate dollars.

Music Midtown has been an iconic Atlanta cultural event since 1994. Dozens of artists gather every year in Piedmont Park to provide thousands of local Atlantans a good time with their music, and the very chill vibes of this iconic event. The headliners are always a major success and this year was no exception. With big names like Bruno Mars, Future and Mumford and Sons, the festival this year was by far one of the most exciting ones yet. Thousands of festival-goers braved the heat and humidity, crazy crowds, and overpriced water bottles to get a chance to see some of their favorite artists up close and personal. However, sophomore Sara Graff experienced some frustrating run-ins. “I didn’t like how rude people were when you were trying to get somewhere, especially the older women,” she said. “A stranger said that my friend had too much makeup which wasn’t cool at all.”

Sophomore Sally Witt had no complaints about the event. “I thought it was super crazy lit,” she said. “Really good music. I like the smells and how everyone’s so chill but at the same time how there’s so much energy.”

Music Midtown has been a favorite of North Atlanta students for years although parents are a tad ambivalent about seeing their kids go. Given the ticket prices — way too high — and the lack of cell phone reception in the park — way too spotty — thousands of teenagers flock to the park every year nonetheless. The safety of the festival is questionable, as not everyone is in his or her right mind and the concert proceedings go late into the night. Often people go in groups to stay safe, which is nice on a surface level, but sort of messed up as music festivals and parks are supposed to be perfectly safe spaces for people of all ages and genders to enjoy.

It’s popular, to be sure, but Music Midtown is not everyone’s cup of tea. “I don’t want to go to because I’m interested in metal and they probably don’t have that there,” said junior Thomas Contis. ‘I think they should have all kinds of music, not what’s just playing on the radio.”

And Contis does have a point. In not appealing to all types of music fans, isn’t the event a fraud of a festival? The lineup has three, and only three, very distinct kinds of music- alternative, rap, and pop. Not having rock n’ roll, metal, bluegrass, jazz, soul, and other genres of music makes the festival an obvious profit-consuming money monster instead of a festival that actually appreciates and celebrates all kinds of music. It’s not a festival for showcasing art and spreading love through music as much as it is a corporate dream of hungry, sweaty teenagers stuck in a pen buying $10 hot dogs and trying to hide their sweat stains. However, that matters very little anyway, as most festival-goers aren’t exactly completely invested in the music: bluegrass isn’t the only grass they’re looking for, if you catch my drift. Music Midtown, although certainly fun and mostly harmless, has turned into an experience so hyped up by social media and word of mouth that even if it is a sub-par music experience, the need to go is so urgent and necessary as to fit in and to be a part of the teenage experience. Going to Music Midtown is now not so much for you and your personal gratification as it is for your friends and letting them know that you, a Music Midtown veteran, have had more fun than they have.

Although Music Midtown is probably the best music festival Georgia’s ever seen and definitely a success on a corporate level, it is still a venture for profit and nothing more. It’s certainly not a life altering-experience, and not a celebration of music as it should be celebrated.