There are those who continue to miss the Music Midtowns of the past — and, sure enough, they were amazing productions, with dozens of stages and acts ranging from Courtney Love to Tony Bennett.
But to dismiss what Music Midtown has presented since its return in 2011 is a disservice to what fans will experience Friday and Saturday at Piedmont Park.
You want new music? Expect to see plenty of high school and college-age fans flocking to the fest’s three stages for Iggy Azalea, Lorde, Bastille, Banks and B.o.B.
Veteran acts? Yeah, there are some of those, too, in the form of Gregg Allman, Run-D.M.C. and — gulp — Third Eye Blind.
And how about the headliners? Friday gives you the option of the sticky fuzz-rock of Jack White or the radio-friendly guitar wailing of John Mayer. On Saturday, if you aren’t into the fluid rap of Eminem, then head to the other headliner stage for a Southern rock-country gumbo with the Zac Brown Band.
Now, add about a dozen more acts to the mix — Lana Dey Rey, Fitz and the Tantrums, Needtobreathe and the Strypes among them — and you have a lineup expected to attract the park’s 60,000 capacity each day.
“We look for a range of demographics,” said Peter Conlon, president of Live Nation Atlanta, which produces Music Midtown. “You might see a couple of heritage acts, but we try to keep it younger. And we find that younger people like to see the older acts, like Journey last year. But I think we skewed a little younger this year. We want to keep that audience because that’s who will keep coming back.”
If you’re heading to the festival — two-day general admission tickets are still available for $135 — here are some tips to help you navigate.
Where to get in:
There will be five entrances into the festival grounds:
• The Charles Allen Gate, located at the corner of 10th Street and Charles Allen Drive.
• The Park Drive/Bridge Gate is available to attendees coming from Monroe and Park drives.
• The Lakeside Gate is accessible at the 14th Street entrance to the park or by Magnolia Hall.
• The 10th Street Gate, located across from Grady High School.
• The 12th Street Gate, located at 12th Street and Piedmont Avenue.
Where to pick up/purchase tickets:
Ticket sales will begin on-site at 2 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. Saturday at the main box office at 10th Street and Charles Allen Drive as well as the 12th Street box office and the Greystone box office on Piedmont Avenue. Cost is $135 for a two-day general admission pass and $500 for VIP. Gates open at 4 p.m. Friday and noon Saturday.
Ticketmaster will-call tickets can be picked up from any of the three box offices. All other will-call tickets must be picked up from the main box office at 10th and Charles Allen.
If you want to leave and return:
Not a problem. Re-entry will be permitted, but you must have your ticket “scanned out” when exiting. You must use the same ticket to gain re-entry onto the festival grounds.
There will be various streets closed throughout the festival. The Music Midtown website has provided a map of road closures, which will be updated on the festival’s app. Also keep an eye out for electronic messages on 10th Street, 14th Street and Monroe Drive.
If it wasn’t obvious from the moment you saw “road closures,” it’s best to just take MARTA and save yourself a lot of aggravation. There is very little legal parking near the festival, but MARTA’s Midtown and Arts Center stations are only a short walk away (the last train leaves at 1 a.m. and there is handicap parking and shuttle services).
Bicycling is also an option. Bike valet service will be available at Grady Circle.
For those needing handicap parking, it is available in surrounding pay and private lots. The far right lane at every gate will be Americans with Disabilities Act-accessible. There will be areas at all three stages for those with any ADA issues. They are accessible to those with disabilities as well as a ticketed companion. There will be seating and ADA-accessible restrooms for their exclusive use. There also will be LED screens that will provide image enhancement.
Want to eat?
As in years past, food trucks and concessions will be spread throughout Piedmont Park. Among this year’s offerings (which include vegetarian and gluten-free options): Bhojanic, Williamson Brothers BBQ, On Tapa the World, Caribbean Grill, Happy Belly, Nectar Food Truck and King of Pops. There will be plenty of beverage choices of the adult and nonadult variety.
Also, ATMs will be set up around the park.
An array of sponsor booths (free samples!), local artisans, artist merchandise and area radio personalities will be on-site.
There’s an app for that:
This year’s Music Midtown app — available free for Android and iPhone users — will notify you about points of interest as you approach them if you activate the “place detection” option. It also provides you with lineup information, a map, a link to Instagram and updated festival news.
What you can bring in:
One factory-sealed bottle of water or one empty reusable water bottle that can be filled for free at any of the hydration stations located throughout the festival grounds. Also, nonprofessional recording and point-and-shoot photography equipment, towels and blankets.
What is not allowed:
Pets (except credentialed service dogs), chairs, musical instruments, laser pointers, walkie-talkies, coolers, grills, picnic baskets, outside food and drink, professional camera equipment and recording devices, cameras with detachable lenses or video capabilities, roller skates/blades, bikes, scooters, skateboards, weapons of any kind, fireworks or explosives of any kind, illegal or illicit substances of any kind (including paraphernalia), backpacks, bags larger than 12 inches by 12 inches (permitted bags subject to search), glass containers, metal aerosol cans (including sunscreen), carts, tents, unauthorized/unlicensed vending or unauthorized solicitations, handbills, sampling, giveaways, etc.
Also, if you want to drink alcohol, buy it inside. Outside alcoholic beverages are not allowed in the festival due to Fulton County and Atlanta city ordinances.
In case you need a reminder:
Smoking on-site is not permitted as part of Atlanta’s smoking ban in public parks in accordance with the Georgia Smokefree Air Act of 2005. Please don’t be the annoying person giving everyone around you a headache.
FRIDAY (gates open at 4 p.m.)
The Electric Ballroom Stage
4:30-5:30 p.m.: Mayer Hawthorne
6:15-7:30 p.m.: Run DMC
9-11 p.m.: John Mayer
The Honda Stage
5:30-6:15 p.m.: Banks
7:30-9 p.m.: Lorde
The Roxy Stage
4:30-5:15 p.m.: Ron Pope
5:45-6:30 p.m.: Bear Hands
7:15-8:15 p.m.: Iggy Azalea
9-11 p.m.: Jack White
SATURDAY (gates open at noon)
The Electric Ballroom Stage
12:45-1:45 p.m.: Magic Man
2:45-3:45 p.m.: Vic Mensa
4:45-5:45 p.m.: B.o.B.
6:45-8 p.m.: Lana Del Rey
9-11 p.m.: Eminem
The Honda Stage
1:45-2:45 p.m.: The Strypes
3:45-4:45 p.m.: Twenty One Pilots
5:45-6:45 p.m.: Fitz and the Tantrums
8-9 p.m.: Bastille
The Roxy Stage
12:45-1:30 p.m.: Sleeper Agent
2-2:45 p.m.: Aer
3:15-4:15 p.m.: Third Eye Blind
5-6 p.m.: Needtobreathe
6:45-8 p.m.: Gregg Allman
9-11 p.m.: Zac Brown Band
As always, the lineup is subject to change and this is a rain or shine event.
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