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Shedding Light on Myths, Money for Major Piedmont Events

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The Saporta Report catches up this week with Mark Banta, president and CEO of the Piedmont Park Conservancy, to set the record straight regarding major festivals in Atlanta's grand courtyard, if you will. While titanic "Class A" events such as Music Midtown, the Dogwood Festival and Gay Pride are the source of traffic headaches and other distress for neighbors — the park hosts five such events annually — it turns out there's more method to the madness than many realize. Music Midtown donates $100,000 to the park now — whereas $400,000 festival permitting fees go into the city's general fund, unfortunately — but it doesn't get to run roughshod across the grounds. For instance, plans to host a fourth stage on the park's Active Oval were scrapped this year because that "$2 million amenity ... has a complex and fragile drainage system that was not designed for the weight of a festival and a stage," Saporta notes. And crushed drainage would probably spell crappy kickball games.