Rapper Travis Scott played the Super Bowl Halftime show with Maroon 5 in February and will be back in Atlanta to headline Music Midtown in September. Photo: CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM
Photo: Curtis Compton/TNS
Photo: Curtis Compton/TNS

Music Midtown 2019 lineup topped by Travis Scott, Panic! At the Disco, Billie Eilish and Vampire Weekend

This is the 25th anniversary of the Atlanta music festival

The quartet of Travis Scott, Panic! At the Disco, Billie Eilish and Vampire Weekend tops the 2019 Music Midtown lineup.

Also joining them on the four stages spread across Piedmont Park will be Lizzo, Charlie Puth, Lord Huron, Tash Sultana, Kali Uchis, Walk The Moon and Quinn XCII.

Atlanta-based rappers Lil Yachty and 6lack received prominent billing, while other locals, the Coathangers and Faye Webster, will also showcase their music.

The two-day roster is filled out with Banks, Local Natives, MØ, Jaden Smith, Sigrid, Dominic Fike, Taylor Bennett, Madison Beer, Bad Suns, Noah Cyrus, Reignwolf, Band of Skulls, Yola, Kevin Garrett and 99 Neighbors.

Music Midtown will take place Sept. 14-15 at the park it has called home since 2011.

Tickets for the festival start at $155 for two-day general admission and will go on sale at 10 a.m. May 17 at www.musicmidtown.com. General Admission Plus, VIP and Super VIP tickets are also available for $305, $600 and $1,250, respectively.

Brendon Urie of Panic! at the Disco performs onstage during the 2019 Billboard Music Awards at MGM Grand Garden Arena on May 1, 2019 in Las Vegas. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for dcp)
Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images for dcp

This year’s lineup announcement arrived more than a month earlier than usual.

Peter Conlon, president of Live Nation Atlanta, which produces Music Midtown, said he didn’t want to wait until after the mid-June Bonnaroo festival in Manchester, Tenn. - the typical unveiling time for Music Midtown.

“We don’t have any competing headliners, and it’s a lot of time we’re wasting,” he said.

While a few “look and feel” tweaks will be implemented for this year’s Music Midtown – including an emphasis on craft beer – not much else will change.

There is, however, a celebratory aspect to the 2019 edition of the event – it’s been 25 years since Music Midtown debuted in the area now inhabited by the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. (The festival went on hiatus from 2006-2010 and returned in 2011 as a one-night event featuring Coldplay, The Black Keys, Cage the Elephant and a handful of other bands.)

The late Alex Cooley poses with a poster from the first Music Midtown in 1994. Photo: Charlotte B. Teagle/AJC

“It’s 25 years for this and 50 years since the International Pop Festival. It’s a big Alex Cooley year,” said Conlon, referencing his late friend and renowned Atlanta-based concert promoter who staged the 1969 International Pop Festival in Hampton and, years later, became Conlon’s business partner.

“We put Music Midtown together in six months and 25,000 people came. I wanted to wait a year, but Alex was adamant because he felt someone else might do something and he wanted to do it first,” Conlon said. “It was $25 for three days. We lost half a million dollars, but were dead set about doing it again. I put the money together with sponsors and we made money the second year. It took off after that with 100,000 people.”

In those early years, artists ranging from James Brown to Vertical Horizon, Etta James to Rick Springfield and Cornershop to Taj Mahal played the festival.

Lizzo is among the newer acts that now populate the Music Midtown lineup. Photo: Ryan Fleisher/Special to the AJC
Photo: Ryan Fleisher

The past few installments have witnessed a younger skew to the Music Midtown lineup, and while Conlon would like to return to sliding in a veteran headliner, it’s not in the immediate plans.

“We’re a pop-rock festival. We’re not doing ‘70s classic rock stuff. Those people, they don’t want to stand for three hours. I’d have to have the largest chair rental in Atlanta history. We’ve got our market pretty well defined,” he said. 

Conlon has also always emphasized the city element of Music Midtown – something Cooley stipulated.

“We were one of the first few festivals to do (a non-camping) festival. Lollapalooza does it now, Austin City Limits does it now. They all came to Music Midtown to see what we were doing,” Conlon said. “In the ‘90s, we were the biggest festival in the country. This is like a Super Bowl for the city every year that we bring it in. I’m glad it’s still here.”

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About the Author

Melissa Ruggieri
Melissa Ruggieri
Atlanta Journal-Constitution staff writer Melissa Ruggieri covers music and entertainment news for the AJC. She remembers when MTV was awesome.  
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