Abrams wants Music Midtown’s end to resonate with voters

Stacey Abrams wants to make sure Gov. Brian Kemp and his Republican allies take the blame for the cancellation of the Music Midtown festival – and she’s placing a bet the abrupt scrapping of the two-day event will resonate with Georgia voters in November.

A week after festival organizers announced this year’s Music Midtown is kaput, the Democratic candidate for governor launched a TV ad featuring media coverage describing the end of the event as a “great loss for the community” and a “major blow to the city’s economy.”

Though festival organizers wouldn’t comment on the cancellation, officials say it’s linked to litigation surrounded by a 2014 signed into law by then-Gov. Nathan Deal that allows gunowners to carry their weapons on public land. The festival was to be held at Piedmont Park.

Kemp has declined comment on the festival, though he’s panned efforts by the Democratic governors of Nevada and North Carolina to poach the event. At a campaign stop in northeast Georgia, Kemp said GOP policies have only made the state more desirable for investment.

With three months until the election, Abrams is intent on casting the state’s anti-abortion law and pro-gun policies as a threat to business. Beyond the TV spot, her campaign has also rolled out a string of digital ads highlighting Kemp’s response to the festival fallout.

She’s trying to prevent the GOP from pulling off a repeat of what happened the last time a major Georgia event was canceled in response to Republican policies.

Credit: Steve Schaefer

Credit: Steve Schaefer

That was in 2021, when Major League Baseball yanked the All-Star game from Truist Park in protest of the state’s new election law. That triggered a GOP onslaught accusing Democrats of overhyping the negative impact of the voting law.

With the scuttling of Music Midtown, Abrams and her allies are trying to shape the narrative early by arguing that the Republican embrace of gun rights legislation in Georgia cost Atlanta a showcase event that drew 50,000 attendees last year.

“It puts our state in a terrible position when the governor refuses to do what’s right for the people and businesses of our state,” Abrams said. “His reckless agenda has been costing our state jobs and business from day one.”