Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Return of Music Midtown

Everyone in Atlanta remembers the death of Music Midtown. For college students (like I was at the time) it was a blow to music freedom (or something equally ridiculous in our heads). We'd just had 'On the Bricks' taken away (which made sense as a series of free concerts in the summer at Centennial Olympic Park probably wasn't a good idea) and for me the death came the first year I might have actually be around to go to the shows. But in 2005 the living, breathing, wannabe Warped Tour bordering on a potential disaster that was Music Midtown was killed. It was for the best really. Ten years was a good run for such a show and face it, Atlanta isn't Manchester, TN which has shocked the world with being able to host Bonaroo every year. (I should point out that this is probably because there is quite truly, nothing else in Manchester. I drive through there often to get to my parents' house.) Especially in its last year, there were a million and one things wrong (including lots of rain that rained out half the show). We bid it farewell and wished for something similar, another Big Day Out or the like, and everyone else just traveled to Bonaroo instead.

I've never been a music festival goer. I'm a music festival lover, but in my preteen years I didn't have an older sibling to drag me to Big Day Out or Warped Tour and once I was old enough to think about going on my own, I'd moved to a state that likely wouldn't even be on the Warped Tour radar in the early 2000s. (I didn't look that up because there's no point. It wasn't coming to my house). Plus, let's face it, I was terribly naive as a teenager. Terribly.

I've loved the idea of Bonnaroo, Music Midtown and more, and I've always loved the line up, but I can't stand the idea of camping for three days, not to mention I live in the south. You think up in New England you're melting at Warped Tour? Try doing it here in Atlanta where it's probably up over 100 degrees, you're on black top that's just making it hotter and there's a million sweaty kids. Not really the ideal situation to see your favorite band.

But Music Midtown refused to stay dead.

Mayor Kasim Reed has an idea for Atlanta and apparently it's to bring back the culture we let die in the 2000 decade. Not that Wrestlemania really counts as classy culture, but it did count as a giant cash cow for the city and I think Mayor Reed sees the same with Midtown.

It's been dropped down to two stages and one day, with a lineup that had my eyes going wide. Coldplay as the headliner? The Black Keys and Manchester Orchestra (a no brainer as they are local heroes)? Of course there was one name that caught my attention, for obvious reasons. Cage the Elephant, my high school friends, has been deemed to open and will be at the rebirth of Music Midtown (now you see why I want to go?).

They've moved the locale from the empty space that's now the Georgia Aquarium to Piedmont Park, they've moved the concert date to late September (when it should be comfortable weather). They've added a very interesting set list.

I feel like it's a good start.

Of course I'm likely going to be fighting with people to get someone to go with me, but the collection of hipster type bands (yes, yes they are) could mean a really interesting crowd. I'm eager to see how this goes in a city that tends to prefer Lady Ga Ga, rap music and Taylor Swift. It could be awesome.

That said, I'm excited. Tickets go on sale next week and I'm likely to get myself one.


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