Music Midtown announces its phase one lineup

Ah, it seems as though the Music Midtown gods are smiling down on us yet again, though this time giving us a little bit of everything. Here comes the run of the mill run down of who will be there, who should be there, and who could be there.

Let’s not get off in saying that Atlanta’s premier music festival has done it again and lined up something for everyone to love; since its announcement, the lineup has received much praise and some reproach.

So let’s start with the big names: Eminem, Zac Brown Band, John

Mayer, Jack White, Lana Del Rey, Lorde, Iggy Azalea, Bastille, Run-
DMC, and Gregg Allman. Some may be thinking, where in God’s name is Outkast?

Well if that is the worry, just bear in mind that they’re performing 3 times in Atlanta the following weekend. But after having already thrown down at Coachella, Counterpoint and Governor’s Ball (to name a few), what’s another music festival at home? Keep your fingers crossed on that one.

Continuing onto another rap superstar: Eminem. Traditionally Music Midtown seems to have been primarily an alternative genre-centered festival with hints of rock and hip-hop here and there. In the past, bands like Coldplay and Red Hot Chili Peppers were the headliners, and it just felt right; with Eminem as heading the list, it feels a bit weird. Zac Brown Band and John Mayer go hand in hand as two names to catch the college crowd’s attention. Long time fans should be excited to see John Mayer pay a much-overdue homage to his pseudo-hometown with “Why Georgia”.

Hold onto your flower crowns ladies, Lana Del Rey, Lorde, and Iggy Azalea will all be in Piedmont Park. The production folks behind Music Midtown really hit it home here, grabbing up what might as well be the female Holy Trinity mainstream pop-muisc. With these three acts, the festival might just sell out.

With Lana Del Rey selling out in 15 minutes for her recent show at the Tabernacle, Iggy Azalea’s “Fancy” lyrics being practically ubiquitous, and then Lorde—predictably and finally—breaking ground in Atlanta, I could practically hear the cries of utter excitement break all across the suburbs.

So far we have the attention of the late 90s and early 2000s hip-hop listeners, the southern proper and college crowd and pretty much all girls from the ages 16-25, but wait, there is more.

British and not-One-Direction, Bastille is joining the hodgepodge party, they are new on the alternative scene but many have properly heard “Pompeii” chanting in the background somewhere.

The band has been around since 2010 is headed by singer-songwriter Dan Smith and has four members in all. They were nominated for four Brit Awards in February of 2014 and have sold over two million records in the UK alone. They may not be on the top of the list right now but might end up being one of the shining performances.

Next up we have Run-DMC and Gregg Allman. At this point people reading the lineup are  either happy and/or thoroughly confused with this year’s lineup.  Reading the big names in order and ending it with Run-DMC and Gregg Allman kind of feels like listing who all is coming to the family reunion and leaving off good-ole grandpa at the end.

There are not too many complaints though, based on the reactions on Twitter and Facebook, fans are just excited to have another day filled with good vibes and pumping music.

Of course  there are more names to follow: Fitz and the Tantrums, B.o.B, twenty one pilots, NEEDTOBREATHE, Mayer Hawthorne, Banks, The Strypes, AER, Sleeper Agent, Magic Man, Bear Hands, Ron Pope and “more acts to be announced”.

There really is almost something for everyone to enjoy this year. With a mixture of new and old acts, this whole lineup deserves a good listen like Fitz and the Tantrums, B.o.B, Twenty-One Pilots, and Banks. It is a good spread.

Music Midtown is taking a more varied wildcard approach for 2014, perhaps in an attempt to attract a wider audience and drift away from being solely an ‘alternative music festival’. Sure, veterans would have loved to see Muse and the Killers make the list but everything lingers on that last “more acts to be announced”. It is a potpourri of acts this year, but no one that should disappoint.

The only thing than can be said that is notably missing from the buffet would be an EDM producer. With the recent meteoric rise in the dance music scene, one would expect at least one or two DJs on the list. Maybe that is being saved for a later announcement to really throw us a curve ball.

Music Midtown is resembling a sort of miniature Austin City Limits festival, so if there is any room for artists like Zedd, Major Lazer or Chromeo, our hometown festival may start receive some national acclaim, and have the ability to draw in longer lineups with bigger names. Would anyone else want this to be a three day event again?

All in all, major props to the producers this year for managing to compile a lineup that accurately represents the diverse community of music lovers here in Atlanta.