The Atlanta Music Midtown festival, which ended in 2005 after a mostly successful and frequently buzzed-about 11-year run, will return Saturday, September 24th, at Piedmont Park - and Coldplay will headline, the official site has confirmed today. Catch all the latest discussion and previews to this new festival date at the Coldplay Live forum now [thanks LiTii & _Tash]
Here's Anchorman's announcement: We're pleased to report that Coldplay will headline this year's Music Midtown festival, which takes place in Atlanta's Piedmont Park on Saturday, September 24th. Other acts playing include The Black Keys, Cage the Elephant, Manchester Orchestra, Young The Giant, Band of Skulls, Joy Formidable, The Constellations, Mona and The Postelles. General admission tickets cost just $55.00 + $1.00 for Centers of Hope. They go on general sale on Saturday, July 16th @ 10AM EST at www.musicmidtown.com, www.livenation.com or charge by phone at 1-800-745-3000.
Two stages will bookend the park during the noon to 11 p.m. event, featuring headliners Coldplay and The Black Keys and a slew of burgeoning alternative bands such as Cage the Elephant, Band of Skulls, The Joy Formidable and Atlanta-based Manchester Orchestra, writes the Access Atlanta website, in a preview of the festival, and a background to its history and subsequent changes. Tickets go on sale July 16 and will cost $55 for the all-day fest, which will also include an artists market, food vendors and two VIP areas.
Peter Conlon, president of Live Nation Atlanta who co-founded the event in 1994, will again steer Music Midtown as it re-enters the market with a scaled-down approach. But the setup, he points out, isn’t much different from the festival’s inaugural year. “This all started as three stages over two days,” Conlon said last week in an exclusive interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution at Empire State South in Midtown, not far from the site of the festival’s glory years.
Though Conlon realizes that Music Midtown 2011 isn’t boasting a head-spinning lineup tantamount to past years -- 2003’s event trumpeted 150 acts ranging from Sheryl Crow to Def Leppard to Tony Bennett -- his current plan revolves around prudence. Organizers are working on adding a Friday night single-act concert as well. “The basis is to really build acts and to get people to come and enjoy music. We need to build our core audience again,” Conlon said.
Conlon’s longtime promoter partner and co-founder of Music Midtown, Alex Cooley, is now retired and isn’t involved with the festival reboot. The decision to resurrect Music Midtown began last fall with discussions about location and permit approvals, and Conlon started booking acts in April. But really, the ghost of Music Midtown never disappeared, even after Conlon ended the festival after its 2005 incarnation near the Atlanta Civic Center. That weekend was plagued by bad weather and perceived competition from the Vibe Music Fest at the downtown Georgia Dome. Conlon, who said he lost $3 million that final year, was left feeling a lack of support and cooperation, figured, “If you guys don’t want it, fine.”
But since then, he said, no matter where he went, “every waiter, every bank teller,” would ask him when Music Midtown would return. Now Conlon feels confident he has the support of the city, a venue suited to a day and night of standing and, if Mother Nature plays along, ideal fall temperatures.
Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed voiced his support of the event – and Piedmont Park – in an interview Monday afternoon. “In my mind, this is the most special venue in the city. The venues in the past were always challenged, but at that time, the park wasn’t in any condition to handle the capacity of people,” Reed said, noting that the city is not providing any funding for Music Midtown. “But because of the critical investments made by the city and the Piedmont Park Conservancy, it’s now in condition to do what it’s meant to do -- be an important public gathering place.”
While the Music Midtowns of old could attract 200,000 to 300,000 fans over a three-day weekend, Piedmont Park’s capacity wraps at about 55,000. The location also means about 85 percent of attendees will utilize MARTA, as they have during the annual Green Concerts at the park. Reed said that while neighborhood reaction is always a concern, he’s confident that Music Midtown can thrive in its new locale. “This is not a long-term commitment,” he said. “We’re going to try it with a group that is really special in Coldplay, and if the community doesn’t feel it was a good fit, we’ll revisit it at that time. But I happen to believe it’s going to work very well.”
Conlon, too, is both hopeful and cautiously optimistic. “This year will determine if Music Midtown goes forward or not,” he said. “Hopefully this is the first year of a new run.”
New photos of Coldplay - Main Square Festival, Arras, France (3rd July, 2011):
[Photos by Benoit Darcy @ Flickr]