A pro-gun activist who has repeatedly called on Live Nation to change its weapons policy, which prompted the recent cancellation of the Atlanta festival Music Midtown, has now said that he wishes to “challenge” the live music promoter’s firearms ban inside its Georgia venues.
The annual festival, which had been due to welcome the likes of My Chemical Romance, Jack White and Future from September 17-18, cancelled its 2022 edition earlier this month “due to circumstances beyond our control”.
Billboard subsequently reported that recent changes to Georgia’s gun laws, which prevented Music Midtown’s owner Live Nation from banning festivalgoers from bringing guns on to the publicly owned festival grounds at Piedmont Park, were “the likely cause” for the cancellation.
In a new interview with Billboard, Georgia IT worker, author and vocal gun rights activist Phillip Evans recalled how, in the weeks before the cancellation, he warned a contractor hired to handle security at Music Midtown that “should any member of your security team accost a legal carrier of weapons … [then] your company (and any involved individual) could be sued for damages”.
“I urge you to honour and follow our state weapons law here in Georgia,” he added.
Evans has now told Billboard that he never pushed for Music Midtown’s cancellation, and that he didn’t expect Live Nation to pull the plug on the event.
“There’s nothing in my blog, in my opinion, that indicates I celebrated the decision,” he added. “I would’ve actually been thrilled had Live Nation gone ahead and had the event and said that they were following state law.”
Describing himself as a “hardcore music fan” who “loves all kind of music from all eras”, Evans says that he wants Live Nation to “abide by a law”. He added that he wouldn’t rule out challenging the promoter’s weapons ban at its Georgia venues in the future, and that he “could” show up to a venue armed.
“For a long time now there have been various pop acts and ’70s acts that I’ve wanted to see,” he said. “So I do plan at some point to challenge that, because I really do want to go to one of those concerts and to maintain my right of self-defence.
“It might not be solvable for certain people because some people have such a fear of weapons and they’re terrified when they see someone with a weapon,” he added. “Because their terror exists even onto themselves, because they’re afraid of a gun in their own hands. They’re afraid that, ‘Well, if I have a gun and I get mad while driving, I might shoot somebody.’ They’re projecting that irrational fear of causing harm to others.”
Live Nation declined to comment on Billboard‘s story, nor have they explicitly blamed Evans for Music Midtown’s cancellation or confirmed that the event was pulled due to guns.