Event planning isn’t easy. But there are a few easy-to-follow rules. Number one, ensure the space is big enough to host your party. And number two, don’t hold Black music festivals in front of massive Confederate monuments.
That last tip seems to have gone over the heads of the conservators of Stone Mountain Park, a 3,200 acres park outside of Atlanta, Georgia, which just so happens to be the birthplace of the Ku Klux Klan revival in 1915. The park has the largest standing Confederate monument in the nation. And it’s also the location of “Soul Fest,” a four-day concert featuring Black artists performing R&B, Soul music, and gospel music.
The concert is running from Thursday to Sunday, in case you’re dying to check it out. But it’s worth noting that the backdrop is less than ideal. The park’s biggest attraction is a looming stone carving of Confederate President Jefferson Davis and Generals Robert E. Lee and Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson (i.e. the people who fought to keep Black people enslaved). The monument, which is 90 to 190 ft, is actively maintained by park management and is actually protected by Georgia State Law.
Understandably, not everyone in Georgia is pleased with the concert celebrating Black music being held at a Confederate monument site. Atlanta NAACP President Richard Rose told the Associated Press that the concert was a way to “normalize” the park.“They’re saying, ‘This is OK. Get used to it. It’s cool,’” he told the AP.
According to the AP, some of the performers told Rose that they had signed contracts and that their music brings people together. But Rose called B.S. “The music can’t bring people together in front of this icon of the Confederacy,” he said.