When the season for summer music festivals begins to fade away, Atlanta welcomes its annual September weekend festival, Music Midtown, in Piedmont Park. This festival puts you right in the action of busy city life, which helps fuel the excitement for a weekend full of music from some of the top touring artists in the world.
While the line-up might change annually, these tips will serve you through any upcoming Music Midtown weekend for years to come.
How to Get Around
Atlanta is known for its heavy traffic and limited free parking, especially when thousands of visitors are taking over the streets for the weekend. This makes driving to, and parking at, the festival both a costly and time-consuming venture. Be prepared to pay a minimum of $20 a day to park with a good amount of walking to the festival.
Uber and Lyft
Apps such as Uber and Lyft are an option, especially for those staying outside the city. Ride prices typically increase during large events, but you'll save time—and feel like a VIP—being dropped off right at the festival gates.
Riding the MARTA is both an affordable and fast option, and the closest stop to Piedmont Park is Midtown Station. It's only a 15-minute walk from the festival. If you are not an experienced public transit rider don't worry, the festival crowds will be there to guide you along the way.
Bikes and Scooters
If you have a smartphone you can access a bike or scooter right at your fingertips. Bird scooters and Relay Bike Share can be found scattered all across the city and only charge you for the time spent riding. The best part is once you're done, you can leave your ride without having to worry about returning it to its pick up location or a station. These not only help you bypass the long walks to get to the festival, but can also add a little fun.
At the Festival
What to Take Inside
There are some items that are prohibited, but you're still able to bring everything necessary to stay safe and have fun. Sunscreen, a water bottle and a good attitude should all be a top priority. For the extra cautious, a couple sheets of toilet paper could come in handy as the portable restrooms are not constantly restocked.
What to Wear
It may be tempting to wear your best Instagram-ready outfit, but remember to dress appropriately. There will be hot weather, plenty of standing on your feet and getting dirty is almost guaranteed. The festival is a rain-or-shine event so be prepared to get muddy and bring along an emergency poncho. You can carry a blanket or tapestry to sit on comfortably while waiting for shows to start.
What to Eat and Drink
The most important thing to remember is to drink plenty of water. Staying hydrated is the first step to guaranteeing you have a good time all weekend. While you aren't allowed to bring outside food and drinks into the festival, you are allowed one sealed water bottle that you can refill at water stations. For those on a budget, you can always leave and re-enter the festival whenever you want, allowing for meals outside the festival.
There are countless food and beverage vendors scattered across the festival grounds, many of which are local to Atlanta. If you register your wristband with a credit card, you don't even need to bring your wallet inside with you. The lines get long fast, so don't plan on getting food when your favorite show is about to start. If you are looking for a quick treat try King of Pops whose popsicles provide a perfect refreshment to combat the heat.
If a show has already started and you haven't found your spot, don't force your way to get closer. The show is still enjoyable from further back and there will be opportunities to move closer as people trickle out to go to other stages. If you want a good spot, get to the stage at least an hour ahead of time.
Don't carry on conversations during performances. While commenting here and there with your best friend is expected, don't ignore the music and talk through the shows. It not only distracts everyone around you but also keeps you and your friends from enjoying the music.
Put Down Your Phone
It is tempting to hit record during your favorite song, but don't record the entire performance. Live in the moment.
Clean up Your Trash
It's easy to forget your empty drink bottles when moving to another stage, but throwing away your trash makes for a cleaner environment through the weekend. Mother Nature and festival volunteers will thank you.
Don't Judge or Be Afraid to Be Judged
Music Midtown is meant for you and everyone else to have fun. If you see someone having a good time, give them a high five and join them. Dance like nobody's watching, make friends with strangers and ultimately create memories.
Where to Stay
Music Midtown is a two-day festival so unless you already live in Atlanta, finding a place to stay should be a priority. To make the most of your stay, consider booking a hotel in Midtown as the neighborhood is full of hotels that are less than a mile from Piedmont Park. Reserve your stay early before rooms sell out.
Residence Inn by Marriott Atlanta Midtown is not only less than a mile from Piedmont Park but also close to other entertainment to enjoy while in Atlanta for the weekend, such as the Woodruff Arts Center. As one of the most affordable within Midtown this hotel even offers suites with a full kitchen, perfect for those who want to pack their own food for the weekend.
Less than half a mile from the park, Hyatt Atlanta Midtown is the closest hotel to Music Midtown and is just a few steps away from many bars, venues and popular restaurants to enjoy while outside of the festival.
Staying within the neighborhood of the festival also allows for the fun to continue past the last show each night. If you still have the energy, Midtown is full of nightlife to explore from late night restaurants to bars and clubs. If you are lucky, you may even be able to catch a secret after-show performed by festival artists at various local bars.