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Arts Festival, Music Midtown dueling over Piedmont Park | Business

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Arts Festival, Music Midtown dueling over Piedmont Park
Arts Festival, Music Midtown dueling over Piedmont Park

ATLANTA (WXIA) -- Two popular Atlanta festivals are dueling over space in Piedmont Park.

11Alive News has learned that both – the Atlanta Arts Festival and Music Midtown – want to use the park on the same September weekend.

The arts festival is quiet and artsy and has been a Piedmont Park fixture for decades. Music Midtown is loud and raucous and began rocking Piedmont Park in 2011. Now both festivals have asked the city for permits to use the park on the same weekend in September.

"I don't see how we could possibly do that," said city councilwoman Mary Norwood.

Norwood says the city will have to choose a winner from the competing permit applications.

The Atlanta Arts Festival is already marketing its 2015 festival for the weekend of September 19. The arts festival filed its permit application with the city last Novemberr.

Music Midtown filed its application last week – and may have the heavyweight clout to prevail.

Music Midtown drew 170,000 people last year and paid the city a $400,000 fee. Its promoter, Peter Conlon, co-hosted a high profile political fundraiser last fall with Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed.

But the Atlanta Arts Festival has been around for longer and filed its application first. So which festival will prevail?

"Is it first come, first serve, or is it based on past history? I don't know that," Norwood said.

"Or is it based on who has the most power and money?" asked 11Alive's Doug Richards.

Norwood smiled at his question.

"I would hope not," she said.

If it is about who has the most money, there is no question between the two festivals who the winner would be. The Atlanta Arts Festival paid $5,000 for its permit last year, which pales in comparison to Music Midtown's $400,000.