Intermittent showers and the humid air couldn’t deter attendees from returning to Piedmont Park to enjoy the 2021 Music Midtown festival for its second day of performances.

The event, which had four stages and nearly 20 hours of performances across the weekend, brought back a widely missed Atlanta tradition that was canceled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Organizers estimated that about 50,000 people would return for this year’s fest.

Similar to other festivals this year like Chicago’s Lollapalooza, Music Midtown required attendees to either present a copy of their vaccination card or a negative COVID-19 test to help prevent the disease’s transmission.

ExploreFans, performers revel in Music Midtown's return Saturday

As COVID-19 cases continue to surge throughout Georgia and the nation, attendees said they were looking forward to Sunday’s performances with the new protocols in place.

“I’m just happy that they’re having it this year because I know that Imagine was canceled because of the rain, so it’s nice to be like, around people, and definitely that everyone has to be vaccinated or a negative COVID test, so I feel a little bit better about being here,” said 20-year-old Maya Chestnut from Suwanee.

Chestnut, who is a stylist, has attended five Music Midtown events and said she was disappointed that last year’s event was canceled but was “excited” to be back.

“I love the environment, the energy, the people — I’m like a really big concert person so it feels good, just to be back,” she said.

Sophia Messa

A 21-year-old rising pop performer, Sophia Messa kicked off Sunday’s performances at the Great Southeast Music Hall Stage.

The first-generation American, who has family from Brazil and Russia, released her first EP “Ice Cream and Cigarettes” earlier this year. She performed several songs from that EP, including “Breakfast In Bed (feat Avenue Beat),” “Like You Do,” and the first song she ever released back in 2019, “moneydontfixlonely.”

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Fans gather for the second day of performances at Music Midtown at Piedmont Park on Sunday, September 19, 2021, including Sophia Messa kicking off things at the Great Southeast Music Hall Stage. (Photo: Anjali Huynh/AJC)

Fans gather for the second day of performances at Music Midtown at Piedmont Park on Sunday, September 19, 2021, including Sophia Messa kicking off things at the Great Southeast Music Hall Stage. (Photo: Anjali Huynh/AJC)

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Fans gather for the second day of performances at Music Midtown at Piedmont Park on Sunday, September 19, 2021, including Sophia Messa kicking off things at the Great Southeast Music Hall Stage. (Photo: Anjali Huynh/AJC)

“Atlanta, I (expletive) love you,” Messa said to more than 100 enthusiastic attendees. “This is the biggest crowd I have ever performed for, and I am sweating (expletive) bullets right now.”

Remi Wolf

Hundreds of attendees enthusiastically cheered and screamed along as 25-year-old Remi Wolf appeared on the Verizon stage for her debut Georgia performance.

Originally from California, Wolf first received national attention when she competed on “American Idol” in 2014 as a senior at Palo Alto High School. The self-described “funky soul pop” artist graduated from the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music in 2018.

Wolf told festivalgoers she will release her first album “Juno,” named after her dog, in the next few weeks.

She performed a mix of hits from that upcoming album, including “Guerilla” and a remix of “Sexy Villain.” Wolf also covered prominent songs like Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy” and MGMT’s “Electric Feel.”

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Fans pack the area in front of the stage for a performance by Tate McRae on the second day of Music Midtown on Sunday, September 19, 2021. (Photo: Anjali Huynh/AJC)

Fans pack the area in front of the stage for a performance by Tate McRae on the second day of Music Midtown on Sunday, September 19, 2021. (Photo: Anjali Huynh/AJC)

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Fans pack the area in front of the stage for a performance by Tate McRae on the second day of Music Midtown on Sunday, September 19, 2021. (Photo: Anjali Huynh/AJC)

Tate McRae

By the time Tate McRae took the Cotton Club stage, the rain that characterized previous events had largely subsided, leaving a humid atmosphere worsened by hundreds of fans.

But that didn’t stop McRae from trying to bring energy to a relatively subdued crowd in a performance accented by background dancers and changing neon backgrounds.

“This feels so surreal,” McRae said at the Music Midtown performance. “The last time I performed, besides a few shows, was two years ago when I performed for 150 people.”

A Canadian singer-songwriter and dancer, McRae first became more prominent when she competed on the TV show “So You Think You Can Dance?” at 13 years old.

Now 18 years old, McRae was the youngest artist featured on the 2020 Forbes “30 Under 30” list.

Her 2020 song “You Broke Me First” gained international recognition, with over one billion streams across various platforms, that gained traction after the song went viral on TikTok. Screams echoed across the park as McRae announced that the popular song would be the final number of her performance.

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The crowd of fans enjoys 24kGoldn performing at Music Midtown in Piedmont Park on Sunday, September 19, 2021. (Photo: Anjali Huynh/AJC)

Credit: Anjali Huynh

The crowd of fans enjoys 24kGoldn performing at Music Midtown in Piedmont Park on Sunday, September 19, 2021. (Photo: Anjali Huynh/AJC)

Credit: Anjali Huynh

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The crowd of fans enjoys 24kGoldn performing at Music Midtown in Piedmont Park on Sunday, September 19, 2021. (Photo: Anjali Huynh/AJC)

Credit: Anjali Huynh

Credit: Anjali Huynh

24kGoldn

Golden Landis Van Jones, better known as “24kGoldn,” is a 20-year-old rapper and singer who rose to fame in 2019 when his single “Valentino” reached the Billboard Hot 100.

His performance at the Roxy Stage was supported by a mix of fans and people waiting for Grammy Award-winning rapper Megan Thee Stallion to take the stage at 6:30 p.m.

“A rock star is someone who isn’t afraid to be different,” Jones told the high-energy crowd. “A rock star is somebody who plays by their own rules, so where my (expletive) rock stars at?”

Like many young artists, Jones gained prominence on TikTok with his song “Mood” (feat. iann dior), which peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100.

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Rapper Megan Thee Stallion performs "Do It On The Tip" (feat. City Girls) at the Music Midtown Roxy Stage on Sunday, Sept. 19 (Anjali Huynh/anjali.huynh@ajc.com).

Credit: Anjali Huynh

Rapper Megan Thee Stallion performs "Do It On The Tip" (feat. City Girls) at the Music Midtown Roxy Stage on Sunday, Sept. 19 (Anjali Huynh/anjali.huynh@ajc.com).

Credit: Anjali Huynh

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Rapper Megan Thee Stallion performs "Do It On The Tip" (feat. City Girls) at the Music Midtown Roxy Stage on Sunday, Sept. 19 (Anjali Huynh/anjali.huynh@ajc.com).

Credit: Anjali Huynh

Credit: Anjali Huynh

Megan Thee Stallion

Easily one of the most highly anticipated artists of the night, Grammy award-winning rapper Megan Jovon Ruth Pete, who goes by “Megan Thee Stallion,” came to the Roxy Stage with tremendous energy that kept the large crowd with the highest energy of the day thus far.

The Houston-native first started as a freestyler that gained popularity on social media. She has since released several albums and won three Grammys at the 2021 Grammy Awards, including “Best New Artist.”

Attendees began gathering at the stage for the artist hours before her 6:30 p.m. performance, and despite her slightly late arrival, the crowd went wild as Megan entered the stage in a bright red bodysuit performing her song “Realer.”

Crowd members enthusiastically danced and rapped along with the artist to several of her top hits, including “Hot Girl Summer” (feat. Ty Dolla Sign), “Freak Nasty,” “Body” and “Savage.”

Unlike many artists before her, Megan did not reference the pandemic or the Sunday humidity. Instead, she used the brief periods of time in between her numbers to spread positivity throughout the crowd, or as she put it, the “hotties” in the audience.

“We don’t give a (expletive) about these haters,” she told the crowd. “We don’t (expletive) with those who don’t (expletive) with us.”

Marshmello

Fans who could not attend the Imagine Music Festival after it was canceled this weekend due to rain got a taste of what they missed as Sunday’s festivities closed out with Marshmello.

The 29-year-old DJ, whose real name is Christopher Comstock, is best recognized for performing with a custom white helmet representing a marshmallow with a smiley face and X’s for eyes covering his face. Since 2016, Comstock has appeared on top Billboard Hot 100 charts several times for his upbeat songs featuring vocals from other artists.

At Music Midtown, the artist performed a number of his own hits, including “Silence” (feat. Khalid) and “Happier” (with Bastille), as well as songs that remixed music from other DJs and artists.

Comstock closed out the night with “Come and Go,” a song released posthumously by rapper and singer Juice WRLD, who died in 2019.

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Thousands of fans watch artist Miley Cyrus perform at Music Midtown on Sunday, Sept. 19 (Anjali Huynh/anjali.huynh@ajc.com).

Credit: Anjali Huynh

Thousands of fans watch artist Miley Cyrus perform at Music Midtown on Sunday, Sept. 19 (Anjali Huynh/anjali.huynh@ajc.com).

Credit: Anjali Huynh

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Thousands of fans watch artist Miley Cyrus perform at Music Midtown on Sunday, Sept. 19 (Anjali Huynh/anjali.huynh@ajc.com).

Credit: Anjali Huynh

Credit: Anjali Huynh

Miley Cyrus

With the largest crowd of the night, spanning several thousand people, Miley Cyrus performed a set of music emblematic of her multifaceted repertoire, from older country-esque songs to newer, rock-inspired anthems.

Considered by many to be a music icon, Cyrus gained fame after starring as the title character in the popular Disney show “Hannah Montana.” She then went on to release numerous albums that propelled her further into the spotlight and made her a regular among top-charting songs for years.

Across her nearly hour-and-a-half-long performance, Cyrus sang newer hits like “Nothing Breaks Like A Heart” as well as covers such as Janice Joplin’s “Maybe.”

Her most enthusiastic responses, however, came when she performed older hits from her Disney era. The crowd screamed along as Cyrus sang Hannah Montana song “See You Again” and dutifully waved their phone flashlights in the air as she performed “The Climb.”

Cyrus touched on the pandemic’s effect on the country, particularly its effect 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.

- Please return to AJC.com for updates from Music Midtown.