Every year, on a special weekend in mid-September, hundreds of thousands of festival-goers flooded through the gates of Piedmont Park for 2018’s Music Midtown. From first-timers to music-lovers, crowds of people gathered to see their favorite artists perform live and to enjoy a weekend of fun with friends and family.
Music Midtown has become an annual tradition for Atlanta since 1994, originally designed with the intent of bringing performers and fans together, presenting a wide variety of all genres. After a six-year hiatus, the festival reopened in 2011 and developed the structure it has today, as a two-day event with artists performing live at different locations all over the park throughout the weekend.
“Music Midtown is such an influential event, and it brings so many people together through art and music,” said sophomore Grayson Lambert. “When I think of it, I think of dancing in the sweaty crowd in the summer heat, all of us yelling the lyrics to the band in front of us, feeling the song’s beat through the air. It’s such a unique feeling.”
This year, Music Midtown took place on Saturday, September 15, and Sunday, September 16, at Piedmont Park in Buckhead. In order to attend, each person must purchase a ticket for the weekend for $135 and additional fees. A wristband will arrive in the mail, which acts as each person’s permit past security, into the park.
“Tickets have gotten more expensive each year, but it is relatively easy to purchase them online,” says senior Collier Ballard. “It’s still absolutely worth it though, compared to a normal concert ticket, because it gives you access to the live performances of dozens of singers. It’s only $135 for the biggest music festival in Georgia.”
The layout of the event remains the same, with four different stages around Piedmont Park. Two of them, Roxy Stage and Salesforce Stage, are for the musicians that are more popular, while Cotton Club Stage and Great Southeast Music Hall Stage are reserved for the lesser-known artists. Each artist performs at a specific time slot on Saturday or Sunday while fans travel and surround the stages of the artist they want to watch. With shows starting from noon and ending at 10:00 PM, festival-goers have many hours to make sure that they see each and every one of their favorite bands, as well as grab a bite to eat from the food trucks and vendors on the way.
Every year, the music festival features a diverse range of performers, from popular singers to newly emerging bands and artists. The 2018 lineup features dozens of performers, including rapper Post Malone and emo-punk-rock band Fall Out Boy on Saturday, and Pulitzer Prize-winning Kendrick Lamar and anthem-rockers Imagine Dragons finishing on Sunday. Many people who attended the festival went solely to see these four headliners.
“I’m the most excited to see Imagine Dragons, because they’re such an inspiration and seeing them live would be unforgettable,” says Lambert. “I’ve been listening to their music for so long now, and I know all their songs by heart.”
In total, Music Midtown featured 36 bands, singers, and rappers. Other bigger names that joined Atlanta include Khalid, Gucci Mane, Bazzi, Foster The People, BØRNE, and Portugal. The Man. In addition, many lesser-known singers were present at the festival as well, such as Yuno, TwoFeet, and Maggie Rogers.
“The lineup is very diverse this year,” said sophomore Ava Gavin. “There are so many different bands and singers and rappers, and all of them are unique in their own style and voices. It’s the perfect mix.”
Although these famous pop stars and bands attract the majority of the crowd, others were eager to see the new emerging talent, or simply to just wander through the park with friends to listen to each musician.
“Most people don’t have plans when they go to Music Midtown. They just follow the crowd to other artists, especially if they don’t know who is performing,” says Lambert. “The special thing about Music Midtown is that everyone can enjoy the concert, whether you’re a die-hard fan or not.”
For Westminster students, Music Midtown provided a much-needed break from homework and stress from school, and an opportunity to reconnect with friends.
“Since this semester has started, this past month has been a never-ending sea of projects and tests and homework,” said Gavin. “I’m just excited to spend a weekend with my friends, dancing and singing for two days straight. It’s given me something to look forwards to.”
All in all, Music Midtown was a weekend to be remembered, filled with sunny skies and exciting performances that thrilled each and every person that stepped into Piedmont Park.
“No matter who you are or what your taste in music is, Music Midtown gives everyone an unforgettable experience,” Ballard says. “As the adrenaline pumps through you and you dance with your friends, you really find what it means to be happy.”