Whitney Wingate shows off her tickets to this weekend’s Music Midtown festival in Atlanta. Wingate is one of a number of Southwest Georgians planning to attend the two-day festival that features some of music’s top artists. (Staff Photo: Laura Williams)
ALBANY — A few weeks ago, after she ordered her tickets for Music Midtown, Whitney Wingate went on Spotify and created a playlist of four or five of her favorite songs by each of the bands playing at this year’s festival.
“It’s been on repeat ever since,” Wingate said. “I’m getting ready.”
Wingate, who is attending this weekend’s Music Midtown festival with friend Christina Melvin, is one of a large number of Southwest Georgians planning to spend their weekend watching performances by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Queens of the Stone Age, Jane’s Addiction, Phoenix, Journey, Kendrick Lamar, the Arctic Monkeys and several more top-tier musical artists.
“We were having dinner at Harvest Moon (restaurant) the other evening, and we heard people at the next table talking about going to Music Midtown,” Wingate said. “We told them we were going, and we ended up having a long conversation. It turns out there are quite a few people from here who are going this year. I’m not surprised. Last year, I was walking toward one of the stages and I ran into someone I know from Albany.”
Julie Dismuke and her husband, Bret, will be attending their first Music Midtown, as will Trey Gregors, who’s attending with Jordan Fletcher and a large group of their friends.
“Our countdown is underway,” Dismuke, who will be celebrating her birthday at Midtown, said last week. “I wish we could go ahead and leave now. Bret and I both love live music, but this is the first time either of us has gotten a chance to go to a festival like this. We heard that the Red Hot Chili Peppers were going to be there, and we knew we couldn’t pass up this opportunity.
“We’re excited about seeing Imagine Dragons, too, and the fact that the festival is in Piedmont Park makes it really cool. Having all these great musicians together at one place at such an affordable price is just amazing.”
While the Dismukes will, like Wingate and Melvin, stay at a hotel on the outskirts of Atlanta and ride to the festival on MARTA, Gregors and Fletcher will stay with friends in nearby Decatur.
“It will end up being a really inexpensive weekend,” said Gregors, who is looking forward to seeing the North Mississippi All Stars, Cake and the Chili Peppers. “Having friends up there — who moved from down here — means we won’t have hardly any costs. I’ve been to a lot of concerts before, but not a festival like this, so I’m looking forward to being a part of that whole community.”
Fletcher, whose must-see list includes the Chili Peppers, Janes’s Addiction and Phoenix, attended last year’s Wanee festival in Lake City, Fla. She, too, said being part of a “bunch of people who love music” is part of the allure of Midtown.
Wingate calls her friend Melvin a concert virgin, adding — with a hint of mischief — that she can’t wait to see Melvin’s reaction to what are expected to be large crowds.
“I’ll probably turn into that 21-year-old kid again when I get there,” the 27-year-old Melvin said. “I’m so excited to get this opportunity; Whitney and I have been emailing back and forth for the last few weeks. As much as I’m excited about seeing bands like the Red Hot Chili Peppers, I’m looking forward to the whole experience.”
Wingate went to her first Music Midtown at age 16 (“I remember it being very muddy and seeing the Killers.”), and she fell in love with the Avett Brothers at MM 2012. She’s excited about seeing Tegan and Sara and Weezer this year.
“One of the cool things I remember from last year was getting off MARTA and seeing the ant trails of people heading to the festival,” said Wingate, an adventurer who compares attending Midtown to such other memorable recent events as skydiving and running a marathon. “It was just so cool to be dancing to music that I loved and being a part of a crowd that was there for the same thing.
“Music Midtown has such a great vibe, an amazing friendly atmosphere. And there were no incidents to spoil it; everyone just came for the music and to be a part of it. We even made up games with the people in line waiting to use the port-o-potties.”