The Sounds of Midtown

Staff Writer: Logan Haines

Music Midtown was held once again in Atlanta on Saturday, Sept. 15 from noon-11 pm, and Sunday, Sept. 16 from noon-10 pm. Music Midtown is a major event for the city of Atlanta drawing in over 300,000 attendees during its peak years and proving to be immensely lucrative to the city. Conceived by Atlanta-based music promotors, Alex Cooley and Peter Conlon, the festival was created to be “similar to the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.”


Crowd goes wild on opening night. Photo courtesy: AJC

The festival was annually held in Atlanta from 1994-2005, originally running one weekend, as a two-day event each year. It later transformed into a spectacular three-day event that housed events across six stages, each typically sponsored by local Atlanta radio stations.

Dozens of bands were presented along the multiple stages carrying with them a wide variety of musical genres, but due to a decline in attendance and surging expenses the promoters stationed the festival under hiatus. With heavy backlash and promotion, the festival returned as a one-day event early in 2011.

The success of the advance tickets for the 2011 prompted Conlon to announce, “Next year [2012] will definitely be two days, a little more diverse,” he continued, “I felt that getting something [produced] this year was important. It’s gotten people focused again.”


New to the scene, lovelytheband, draws an unexpected large to crowd to the smaller stages. Photo courtesy: Melissa Ruggieri of AJC

This year’s lineup consisted of long-time favorite and musically renown artists such as rappers, Kendrick Lamar and Post Malone, and New Age Rock, Imagine Dragons and Fall Out Boy. Joining them on stage were some up and coming fresh faces to the music scene and festival alike, lovelytheband and Billy Eilish.

Woodstock High School junior and varsity member of the Color Guard, Katie Torkkola (GRADE LEVEL), had this to say about Eilish’s performance, “Billy’s show was an amazing sight to see, and it was an all-around enjoyable time.” Those aren’t all the bands that filled the air with symphonic rapture. 2018’s lineup performed over 35 bands in a breathtaking display of melodic expertise.


Atlanta based group Fall Out Boy rocks the Roxy stage . Photo courtesy: Ryon Horne of AJC

Music was not the only entertainment offered during the festival. There was a plethora of vendors stationed around the venue. From craft beer gardens to Subway and shopping stall to a Ferris Wheel. Even if music is not your forte or simply something to pass the time Music Midtown has something for you and is an excellent family friendly event.

Music however was the focus of this festival, and music is a powerful tool for the community. Music Midtown is one of the finest experiences to see your favorite artists and explore new reaches of music previously outside of your reach.

Every genre possibly evented was covered across the two days of performance. Through the music, however, Music Midtown is a sparkling light for Atlanta, not only does it attract attention from distinguished musical promoters and artists it brings in copious amounts of income to bolster the artistic scene within the city and its grasp.

Dan Reyolds

Dan Reynolds of Imagine Dragons sings on stage. Photo courtesy: Marcelo Hernandez/Getty Images

Beyond the logistical effects of the festival there is something much more profound fluttering through the atmosphere surrounding it. A sense of belonging, a sense of friendship. “Music is the universal language of mankind”; Henry Wadsworth Longfellow said these famous words. He is not alone in this mentality.

When asked what music is, Woodstock High School senior and chorus member Jack Nix commented, “It helps me express my emotions, when I’m having a good day it makes it better, and when the days get tough it will lift my spirits. Some songs are special to me and bring forth memories. Music, to me, is the universal language of emotion and can help people communicate when they can’t find the right words to say.” Beautifully said, his words hold truth to the relationship between Music Midtown and the denizens of Atlanta.

Music Midtown isn’t just a festival to showcase the incredible musicians from around the country, it is the seed of a community. The festival has brought thousands of people, most total strangers to each other, together under one umbrella of commonality. Seemingly contrasting people can relish in the shared bliss of music. Music Midtown convinces the picky to branch out and entertain new ideas and gives those adventurous hearts a place to fulfill their quest all in one central hub.

Music Midtown, what started as a simple replica of every other musical jaunt, has blossomed into a pillar of community not only for Atlanta but for most of the nation as well. Music is a miraculous thing, a beacon in the dark, a hope for the hopeless and Music Midtown captures those ideals perfectly.


Music Midtown 2018 lineup. Photo courtesy: Music Midtown

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