Civil rights groups and activists have denounced “Soul Fest,” a concert series featuring Black performers, for its questionable choice of setting.
The event is being held at Stone Mountain Park just outside of Atlanta. It happens to be the same park where the Ku Klux Klan marked its rebirth in 1915, and features the largest Confederate monument ever created—a giant mountainside sculpture of Confederate President Jefferson Davis and Generals Robert E. Lee and Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson.
Hell, even its precise address is listed as 1000 Robert E. Lee Drive.
The park has made recent efforts to distance itself from its status as a Confederate shrine amid drops in revenue. But civil rights groups said the choice of venue for an event boasting a lineup of Black artists is still distasteful at best.
Atlanta NCAAP President Richard Rose said he saw it as a way to “normalize and sanitize” the park’s hateful history.
“They’re saying, ‘This is OK. Get used to it. It’s cool,’” he said in an interview with The Associated Press on Thursday.
Rivka Maizlish, a researcher with the Southern Poverty Law Center, echoed those concerns.
“It’s an effort to pretend that the park is for everyone while still maintaining this massive symbol of white supremacy,” she said, calling it a “bad faith effort” to downplay the park’s Confederate ties.
Rose said he urged some of the participating bands to drop “Soul Fest,” to no avail. He said they told him they were under contract, and that their music brings people together.
“The music can’t bring people together in front of this icon of the Confederacy,” he said.