After a year’s hiatus because of the pandemic, Music Midtown took back Piedmont Park Sept. 18-19, attracting massive crowds and mosh pits across four stages.

The packed festival brought headline performers from a variety of music genres, such as rock, rap and indie. Renowned artists Miley Cyrus, Maroon 5, Megan Thee Stallion, Machine Gun Kelly and the Jonas Brothers were among those with the largest crowd all weekend. 

Despite the ongoing pandemic 50,000 fans waited in long lines and cheered their favorite artists in mosh pits that seemed endless. The light drizzle on both days did not seem to inconvenience the festival and high energy of the performers either. 

The first day of the festival, The Jonas Brother amassed one of the largest crowds all day. The trio began their set with their new single “Remember This” and had fans yelling the majority of the lyrics. With fans in the crowd begging for their early 2000 hits, The band broke out into their “Camp Rock” gingle “Play My Music” and led straight into fan-favorite “Burning Up.”

Maroon 5, the final band to perform Saturday, had an equally large crowd. Sporting a shirt at the beginning of his set, it wasn’t long until Adam Levine serenaded the crowd with “One More Time” while shirtless. A consideranly calmer crowd than The Jonas Brothers, the massive pit had fans grooving and bobbing their heads to “What Lovers Do” while lasers and beams lit up the night sky.

Megan Thee Stallion performed at Music Midtown in Piedmont Park on Sept. 19. (Anjali Huynh)

During the second day of the festival, Grammy-award winning rapper, Megan Thee Stallion drew in some of the largest crowds of the festival and had the crowd dancing to some of her biggest hits such as “Realer,” “Savage,” and “Hot Girl Summer.” 

Wrapping up the entire festival, Miley Cyrus was another fan favorite. During her hour and a half long performance, she sang her older Disney Channel pop hits, such as “See You Again” and “The Climb,” which was performed near the end of the set and had the crowd waving their cell phone lights.

“It was pretty crowded, but you could expect that at a music festival,” said Annika Jordan (23C), who attended the festival.

Despite the turnout, COVID-19 cases were among one of the reasons some Emory students chose to skip Music Midtown. Though cases have been declining in metro Atlanta before the festival took place, organizers took precautions to minimize transmission, such as requiring a physical vaccination card or a negative test result. 

“I didn’t want to go because I knew people wouldn’t wear masks, and whenever I see large crowds, I automatically think of COVID spreading,” Naima Kandji (25C) said.

Although many health officials feared that music festivals would promote spreading, Music Midtown precaution and its use of social platforms to promote the COVID-19 vaccine benefited festival goers. The festival offered free passes to anyone who got vaccination over Labor Day weekend.

While Music Midtown brought concert fans from across the U.S. to Atlanta, many Emory students chose not to attend this year for reasons such as disinterest in concerts to upcoming school work.

“I was too busy studying for exams,” Lydie Johnson (24C) said. “It looked really fun and I would have loved to see Machine Gun Kelly.”

Expensive was another reason for some students’ decisions not to attend the event. Two day ticket prices for Music Midtown started well above $100 for students and general admission. Although more affordable than larger music festivals such as Coachella and Stagecoach, it can still be expensive for a student budget. 

“I didn’t go because I checked ticket prices too late and by then they were so expensive, my wallet cried,” Emily Luo (25C) said. 

The music festival’s return after being canceled last year was a key factor in many students’ decision to attend, in addition to the top performers. While COVID-19 remains a widespread issue, the return of concerts such as Music Midtown bring Emory students one step closer towards what was considered normal pre-pandemic.