What It Would Take For Charlotte To Land Music Midtown

Billy Joel performs at Bank of America Stadium. Photo: Laura Barrero/Axios

Atlanta’s loss could be Charlotte’s gain — or Raleigh’s gain, we guess.

Driving the news: Last week, Midtown music canceled its annual festival in Atlanta’s Piedmont Park out of “circumstances beyond our control” last week.

  • The festival cannot ban firearms in public parks due to Georgia’s gun laws, as several points of sale reported.

Now, local officials want to attract the festival here instead. Governor Roy Cooper tweeted the festival would be welcome in North Carolina. Pat Cotham, longtime Mecklenburg County Commissioner tweeted Charlotte executives are expected to take a road trip to Atlanta to woo the festival.

  • “We wanted to show that there are alternatives and that a major event like this could be successful in North Carolina,” Cooper spokesman Ford Porter told Axios’ Lucille Sherman.
  • The governor’s office, however, has not been in contact with the organizers of the event.

Why is this important: Legislative actions have consequences, and North Carolina knows it all too well after huge events, including the 2017 NBA All-Star Game, canceled or moved due to HB2 – Carolina’s infamous toilet bill. North.

  • Bruce Springsteen canceled his gig in Greensboro because of it and PayPal withdrew its plans for an office in Charlotte.

Rollback: This isn’t the first time Atlanta has lost an event due to legislation. MLB withdrew the 2021 All-Star Game on SB 202 – Georgia’s controversial election law.

By the numbers: Canceling Music Midtown will cost the Georgian economy $50 million,” Democratic candidate for Georgia governor Stacey Abrams tweeted.

  • About 50,000 people attended last year’s event.
  • The event, which was canceled in 2020 due to the pandemic, last year drew names like Megan Thee Stallion and Miley Cyrus.

Between the lines: Charlotte Center City Partners chief creative officer and senior vice president of events Robert Krumbine has produced all of Charlotte’s major music festivals for the past 30 years, including Carolina Music Fest and Charlotte Center City Fest, which were three-day, five-stage events featuring names like Bob Dylan, Parliament-Funkadelic and the Foo Fighters.

  • “There are a lot of things that need to be done to produce a festival of this size,” Krumbine told Axios. “It takes time to get it right.”

Charlotte has many potential venues for a music festival.

  • Among them: Bank of America Stadium, Truist Field and American Legion Memorial Stadium.
  • A central location is key, according to Axios’ Thomas Wheatley, who told us that “density focuses energy and energy creates a good time.”

Yes, but: Charlotte doesn’t really have green space that could accommodate something like this the way Atlanta does with Piedmont Park or Austin does with Zilker Park.

  • Romare Bearden Park, First Ward Park and Marshall Park are all central options, but they are too small.
  • Even cities like Raleigh would be better suited than Charlotte in terms of access to large parks, like Dorthea Dix Park where the Dreamville Festival was held.

Zoom out: While Charlotte is busy staring at Atlanta, yearning for things we don’t have, both cities are hosting local festivals. For Charlotte, it’s a local music festival debuting this month at NoDa Brewing Company called The Queen City jam session.

  • “Every urban city seems to have a festival; why didn’t we have one in [almost] 20 years?” MaxxMusic President Gregg McCraw told Axios. MaxxMusic and NoDa Brewing are partners in the festival, which McCraw says will have a capacity of more than 5,000 people.

What else: Axios Atlanta’s Wheatley came up with these other, somewhat tongue-in-cheek demands.

  • Local Acts: Atlanta native Future was a headliner before Music Midtown was canceled, and some lesser-known acts made up the tiny impression on the poster.
  • Public Transit: Parking is going to be a nightmare, especially if you follow rule #2.1 – and Uber lines will be hell. Public transport works.
  • No sudden new gun laws: just to be safe.
  • A different name: There’s only one Music Midtown so don’t you dare take it from us.
  • You’re welcome. You all owe us a case of Cheerwine.

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