Breaking Down Music Midtown's Lineup

Sep 16, 2016

Over 100,000 concertgoers are expected to visit Piedmont Park for Music Midtown this weekend to hear headliners like The Killers, Beck and Deadmau5.

After years of expensive high-profile superstars like Drake, Elton John, and John Mayer, this year's festival has cut a day of performances and features a roster filled with lesser-known performers.

Bill Dawers is a lecturer in English and journalism at Armstrong State University in Savannah, and he's the editor of hissing lawns, a Savannah-based music blog. He shares his thoughts on this year's Music Midtown lineup.

On his first impression of this year's lineup

My first impression is that I wish I was in Atlanta for it. I think this looks like a really fun, exciting, diverse lineup. You know there have been some concerns that the headliners aren't quite, you know, the same sort of level of fame as in some previous years. But, I mean, I'd like to see everybody on those top two rows in the lineup.

Music Midtown lineup

The Killers, you know, have been kind of in the alternative rock world for, you know 15 years or so. Twenty One Pilots appeals to a really quite young demographic. I'd love to see Beck again. I'd love to see Deadmau5. The Lumineers. Alabama Shakes. I could say more about any of those. There are some really strong bands down the lineup to that sort of jump out at me.

On whether it’s worth paying $100+ for a Music Midtown ticket to see multiple artists versus the same price for a single artist like Kanye West

I don't think so. I mean I paid almost that much money to see Boston on their reunion tour recently here in Savannah. I love Boston. I loved seeing them in Boston. But you know, I think that for that ticket price you could see some of those headliners like I just mentioned in addition to, you know, somebody like Leon Bridges and Nathaniel Rateliff and The Night Sweats who are just magnificent, sort of up-and-coming roots-influenced performers you know. I mean those acts are worth seeing individually and paying for individually to $135. Seems like a bargain to me. But I will say that most music festivals in that regard seem like bargains when you start if you start parsing the price. There are almost always bargains I think.

On Music Midtown in relation to elite festivals like Bonnaroo, Coachella and Lollapalooza

I can't speak for what they're trying to do. It looks to me though that they are trying to diversify in some respects and be a little less dependent on sort of the classic rock star. You know last year (Van Halen, Elton John, Billy Idol), you know those are people I grew up listening to. I'm way into middle age, right. This year just feels like even though some of these acts have been around for a while or are well-established like Beck, it feels like they're shooting for just a different edge. It feels like they're not obsessing about having a two or three names that everybody knows, like with Van Halen or Elton John.