By Melissa Ruggieri
Lucky number three seems to be attached to the Music Midtown festival.
It’s the third year for the mega-popular event (since returning from a lengthy hiatus in the mid-2000s). This year’s attraction will still take place over two days, but music will be performed on an added third stage. And hey, it’s 2013, so that counts, right?
Here is who will strum, rock, croon and bash around during the musical soiree at Piedmont Park.
ON FRIDAY, SEPT. 20
North Mississippi Allstars
Drivin N Cryin
ONE SATURDAY, SEPT. 21
Red Hot Chili Peppers
Queens of the Stone Age
Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Tegan and Sara
The Black Lips
Tickets for Music Midtown 2013 are $40 for Sept. 20, $65 for Sept. 21 and $90 for a two-day ticket. After Aug. 1, prices will increase to $50 for Sept. 20, $75 for Sept. 21 and $110 for a two-day ticket. Fans can purchase beginning at 10 a.m. Saturday through all Ticketmaster outlets.
“It’s a great value,” said Peter Conlon, president of Live Nation Atlanta, which produces the event. “The average ticket price (at) 1998’s (festival) was $45. We want people to come to expose them to more music. You might come for three acts, but hopefully you’ll discover more while you’re there.”
While the past two years of the resurrected Music Midtown have unfolded with minimal issues (last year’s biggest, the ATMs running out of cash, should be rectified this year with the use of a new vendor), Conlon is always looking to make improvements.
“We said from day one that we were going to expand the stages. If we did two days, two stages, it would be the same festival. We needed to add more to the experience,” he said last week.
The third stage, at Oak Hill, will be erected near the entrance to the festival, fronting 10th Street.
Music Midtown 2012 expanded from one day to two and headliners Foo Fighters and Pearl Jam helped draw sellout crowds of more than 50,000.
Considering that gates had to be shuttered midway through the Saturday concerts last year — hours before Pearl Jam’s closing set — since the area would have otherwise breached a comfortable capacity, conventional wisdom will tell you to plan early.
“Everyone I talked to seemed to enjoy themselves. That always breeds more interest,” Conlon said. “I had people grab me all year and say, ‘I couldn’t get into your festival.’ I think the word is out that it makes sense to buy (tickets) early.”
Conlon commented that he isn’t looking to increase capacity this year, but wants there to be more space for attendees to stroll among the stages, food and beer trucks and arts market.
Another complaint from some last year was a perceived shortage of portable toilets, but, as Conlon reminded, they were in ample supply – people simply tended to follow the crowd and congregated in certain areas.
“You can’t put them all in one spot or you’ll have nothing but rows of port-a-lets,” he said. “There were more than plenty. You just needed to take an extra few steps.”
But let’s not forget the essence of Music Midtown — the music.
As has become routine, Conlon worked throughout the year to cull a lineup that would highlight newbies and veterans, indie rock and rap, and acts with longtime local ties.
“We’re trying to be more diverse this year,” Conlon said. “I’m going back to the mentality of the old Music Midtown, where it was a diverse gathering of acts. Rather than having one or two big acts driving everything, you’ll see more diversity now with three stages.”
And the lucky number appears again.