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Music Midtown Festival @ Piedmont Park – September 17th-18th 2016

Music Midtown @ Piedmont Park © Dan Kulpa

Music Midtown returned to Piedmont Park for its sixth consecutive year this past weekend on September 17th and 18th. Originally conceived by two local music promoters, Music Midtown, with the exception of a short hiatus in the late 2000s, has consistently been a part of the Atlanta music landscape since 1994. This year’s incarnation played out over four stages, three of which were named for iconic Atlanta venues – Electric Ballroom, Roxy, and Cotton Club, with the fourth named Honda, apparently following the popular corporate naming scheme. Like any music festival, Music Midtown has continued to adapt and evolve each year to remain fresh and vital. This year has seen the festival expand to two full days of music on Saturday and Sunday as opposed to previous years that included a half-day on Friday and all day Saturday. The diverse lineup tended to skew toward the younger festival going demographic with notable acts including, DNCE, Melanie Martinez, Daya, Deadmau5, and Twenty One Pilots.

One thing Festival organizers cannot change is the Atlanta weather. Luckily sunny skies and slightly cooler temps greeted festival goers when the gates opened on Saturday afternoon. The famous Southern humidity was still in place, but the occasional breeze made even that more tolerable. Saturday’s festivities kicked off with Balkan Beat Box on the Honda Stage. Balkan Beat Box is an Israeli-based group that mixes traditional Middle Eastern influences with Gypsy punk, rock, hip-hop and electronica. Forget easing into the day, Balkan Beat Box hit the stage and slammed their foot on the accelerator. They played a high intensity set that was the perfect fit to get the crowd up and moving and ready to party. From the first performance, it was off to the races. The diversity of bands was enough to fill everyone’s personal schedule. This was a festival that truly had something for everyone… Notable performances on opening day included, Zella Day, an impressive set from Atlanta’s own the Coathangers, Chvrches, Lucius, Band of Horses, ColleGrove (featuring Lil Wayne & 2 Chainz) and of course a powerful and ecstatically received set from headliners Twenty One Pilots to close out the evening.

Festival goers woke up on Sunday to find that the weather had thrown a curve-ball for Day two. Off and on rain showers greeted fans when the gates opened for the afternoon. By the first performance of the day, the rain had gone into remission and clouds were providing a nice cooling shade over the grounds. Sunday’s schedule provided a bit less space between bands, and there were more tough choices to be made on which shows to catch. While Joseph was starting on the Electric Ballroom stage, Daya was also performing on the opposite end of the festival grounds. Other early acts included Peter Bjorn and John, Melanie Martinez, and St. Lucia. It was during Corinne Bailey Rae’s afternoon set that the clouds unleashed their fury with a heavy downpour. The rains did not dampen the spirits of the crowd, but concern over worsening weather potentially on the horizon prompted festival officials to evacuate the park, erring on the side of safety. After monitoring the situation, and communicating with the displaced fans via social media, the call was made to resume with all bands playing one hour later than their original set times. No bands were cancelled, and no music was lost. The party picked right back up with Grouplove on the Roxy stage. The post rain delay lineup included a performance from Nathaniel Rateliff and The Night Sweats that saw Rateliff scale the stage scaffolding to survey the crowd. Other standouts included Kesha, Alabama Shakes, and dueling headlining sets from Deadmau5 and the Killers to close out the weekend. If you were there, check out the highlights, if you weren’t there, check out what you missed. Photo highlights are below…

Day 1

Day 2

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