We thought about a lot of different options for the names of the two Music Midtown stages this year. We had lots of ideas, some good, some not so good. But we knew that we wanted to do something more special than simply calling them Stage 1 and Stage 2.
Alex Cooley is a name synonymous with live music in Atlanta. He was one of the pioneers of the music scene in the South and is co-founder of Music Midtown. Peter Conlon, Music Midtown’s promoter and other co-founder, wanted to pay tribute to his friend and mentor.
One stage has been dubbed The Electric Ballroom and will feature Coldplay, The Black Keys, Manchester Orchestra, The Joy Formidable, and The Constellations.
The other stage has been named The Great Southeast Music Hall and includes cage the elephant, Young the Giant, Band of Skulls, Mona, and The Postelles.
Here’s what those names mean to us and to the history of Atlanta as a music city:
Alex Cooley’s Electric Ballroom was Atlanta’s first major rock music hall and was located in one of the ballrooms at the Georgian Terrace Hotel, across the street from the Fabulous Fox Theatre. The room hosted every mid-size touring act from 1974 to 1979 including Fleetwood Mac, The Ramones, Billy Joel, Kansas, Rush, Bruce Springsteen, and many, many more.
The Great Southeast Music Hall, located in what was Lindbergh Plaza at the corner of Piedmont and Sidney Marcus, was home to Atlanta’s burgeoning punk scene and also hosted cult acts, touring legends, and smaller rock bands. Booked by Alex Cooley, the Great Southeast Music Hall’s claim to fame is hosting the first ever American appearance of The Sex Pistols. The room also hosted many others including Willie Nelson, Steve Martin (who took the entire audience out for coffee at a nearby Waffle House after the show), Jimmy Buffett, Earl Scruggs, Robert Palmer, and Taj Mahal.
Music Midtown is Atlanta’s festival, which is why it only seemed appropriate to name the stages after legendary Atlanta music venues (run by an Atlanta icon).
To learn more about Alex Cooley, Alex Cooley’s Electric Ballroom, and the Great Southeast Music Hall, please visit his website by clicking here.