As Music Midtown held its second day of performances at Piedmont Park, fans braved rain and humidity to come out en masse to enjoy live music, an entertainment staple that many said they had sorely missed over the past year and a half.

The festival was previously canceled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Although COVID-19 cases remain high in Georgia and nationwide due to the disease’s variants and vaccine hesitancy, many said that the event’s requirements for attendees to be vaccinated or present a negative COVID-19 test put them at ease to have fun at the event this year.

“We got our last-minute tickets because we wanted music, we needed somewhere to go,” said Megan Ferguson, who got tickets to Music Midtown with her husband after the EDM music festival Imagine was canceled due to rain. “We’ve gotten vaccinated, we’ve worn our masks more, so we’re trying to do the best we can while still living life.”

While the day began slowly with short lines and a few hundred people at the event, as is typical earlier on, attendance picked up throughout the afternoon as many came out in high anticipation for the night’s headliners.

Though the majority of attendees did not socially distance or wear masks, Jacob Du, a 28-year-old Duke University graduate student, was in the minority as he donned a mask while singing along to Miley Cyrus at the end of the night.

“I love music, and it’s a no-brainer for me to come out to a big music festival, but I’m still a little bit cautious about the situation,” Du said of why he chose to wear a mask. “The delta variant is still prevalent, and I want to enjoy the music without sacrificing my health.”

Sunday’s lineup featured several younger individuals, including Sophia Messi, 19; Remi Wolf, 25; Tate McRae, 18; 24kGoldn, 20; Latto, 22; and Jack Harlow, 23.

Several of these artists said this was the largest crowd they had performed for, as several became more prevalent throughout the pandemic through social media apps like TikTok.

“This feels so surreal,” said McRae, who is a Canadian singer-songwriter and dancer. “The last time I performed, besides a few shows, was two years ago when I performed for 150 people.”

But Sunday’s headliners also included big-name entertainment staples. Of particular interest was Megan Thee Stallion, a Grammy award-winning rapper who saw crowds come to the Roxy Stage for her performance hours before she was slated to appear at 6:30 p.m.

In a performance accented by high-energy dancing, upbeat music and an enthusiastic crowd, the artist, whose real name is Megan Jovon Ruth Pete, rapped to several of her chart-topping songs. “Savage,” the song that won her multiple Grammy awards, got the biggest fan reaction.

The largest crowd of the night, however, came in the thousands for Miley Cyrus, whose discography inspired by country, pop, R&B and rock has resulted in numerous hits that have resonated with people for more than a decade.

“There are no words to explain how excited I was to see her, this is a middle school fever dream right now,” said Jessie Taylor, who came to see Cyrus from Mobile, Alabama. “She can do everything.”

Many attendees agreed with Taylor, saying that Cyrus’ ability to convey a variety of emotions even to a crowd of thousands made her one of the most compelling artists of the weekend. Fans screamed along as she performed her hit song “See You Again” from her days starring in the Disney Channel show “Hannah Montana,” but became more subdued and waved phone flashlights in the air when the artist launched into her more soulful song “The Climb.”

Like many performers before her, Cyrus touched on the pandemic’s effect on the country, particularly its impact on concerts and how much she had personally missed performing.

“This is what it’s really about: It’s about standing next to somebody and this appreciation for music being greater than any divide, than any separation between the two of you before,” Cyrus said.

The event closed out with Marshmello, whose show ran later than expected due to a delay in the beginning of the performance. The hit-making DJ played a set including several of his own hits as well as remixes of songs from other DJs, and the large crowd energetically danced along as neon lights flashed outside the Verizon stage.

As Marshmello closed out the show with popular numbers “Happier” (featuring Bastille) and Juice WRLD’s “Come and Go,” fans hugged those near them and screamed along one last time, closing out a festival that had, in many ways, provided a much-needed return for many to live entertainment that brought people together.