A little less gray hair and a little more millennial – that’s the theme of the 2016 edition of Music Midtown.
The anticipated fall festival returns to Atlanta’s Piedmont Park Sept 17-18 with a lineup primed to cultivate a younger crowd.
The Killers, Beck, Twenty One Pilots and Deadmau5 will headline, while an array of newer rock, pop and rap acts fill out the scorecard.
Joining the quartet of top line names on the festival’s four stages are: The Lumineers; G-Eazy; Alabama Shakes; Collegrove (Lil Wayne and 2 Chainz); Kesha; Band of Horses; Big Boi; Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats; Chvrches; James Bay; DJ Mustard; Leon Bridges; DNCE; Melanie Martinez; Raury; Daya; St. Lucia; Mayer Hawthorne; Lucius; Corinne Bailey Rae; Pete Yorn; Zella Day; Blind Pilot; The Coathangers; Peter Bjorn and John; NF; The Shadowboxers; Joseph; and Balkan Beat Box.
Peter Conlon, president of Live Nation Atlanta, which produces Music Midtown, said in an interview at his Buckhead office last week that the move toward a younger roster was inevitable.
“Our audience is 17-34. That’s the audience that wants to go to festivals. You’ll get the older people who have one act they want to see and don’t think the ticket is worth it for one act and don’t want to stand around all day,” he said. “It’s really a younger experience. We didn’t do as many in that age range last year as we did the year before (when Eminem, Jack White, John Mayer and Zac Brown Band headlined), so we’re going back to our previous model.
Earlier this month, the festival announced a change to a full Saturday and Sunday of music rather than a half-day Friday and full day Saturday, as has been the standard the past few years.
Fridays worked fine, Conlon said, but weren’t as successful as he wanted so it was time for a schedule tweak.
Gates will open each day at noon and music will play until 11 p.m. Sept. 17 and 10 p.m. Sept. 18.
In keeping with the past couple of years, only two-day admission tickets will be sold for Music Midtown.
General admission tickets are $125 (the price is expected to increase closer to the festival date). VIP tickets are $600 and Super VIP $1,200.
Tickets are on sale at 10 a.m. June 24 via www.musicmidtown.com.
“To me, this is the best value in the festival business,” Conlon said. “You could pay that for a seat to a show. I’ve got (other concerts) that are charging $250 for a seat. So this at $62.50 a day? Come on!”
Heading into its sixth year, Music Midtown is a major financial generator for Atlanta. According to a study commissioned by Live Nation from The Research Center in Nashville, the total impact on the Atlanta-area economy from the 2014 installment of Music Midtown was more than $49 million. Live Nation didn’t order a study after the 2015 festival.
Among the eclectic musical offerings is Music Midtown’s first major foray into EDM with the inclusion of Deadmau5.
“We want to showcase a lot of different kinds of acts. If you’re going to have EDM, Deadmau5 is somebody to have,” Conlon said.
For the record, Conlon’s dream “get” for Music Midtown would have been David Bowie. Or Prince, who was a possibility a couple of years ago, but his preference for last-minute shows couldn’t conform to festival planning.
Conlon is looking forward to hearing Beck, who last played Atlanta in 2014 at the Fox Theatre, as well as the feisty Twenty One Pilots.
“They’ve got a strong following,” he said. “Their Gwinnett show (Aug. 6 at Infinite Energy Center) sold out in hours and we could have done another one. They’re a big band.”
Fans who attended Music Midtown last year won’t see many alterations to the setup at Piedmont Park except that the vendor mart will be converted to a craft beer area and vendors will be interspersed throughout the grounds.
“I’ve always said, if you don’t like the music, you ought to come just to watch the people,” Conlon said. “It’s one of the best people-watching places in the world.”