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Musician Jason Isbell: I’ll Only Perform For Audiences That Are Vaccinated Or Show A Negative Covid Test

By News Creatives Authors , in Business , at August 9, 2021


With artists and concert promoters nationwide forced to confront a surging spike in infections and hospitalizations attributed to the spread of the delta variant, Grammy award-winning musician, Jason Isbell, announced Monday that he and his band, the 400 Unit, will require concertgoers to provide proof of vaccination or a negative Covid-19 test to attend all their future shows, whether they are held indoors or outdoors.

Key Facts

Isbell said everyone attending the band’s shows would also be required to wear a mask.

He asserted that the band would cancel the concert if any venue refused to agree to their requirements.

In an interview on MSNBC Monday, Isbell stated the response he has received from people who work at the venues and in the music business “has been positive because they understand we could go back to not working at all,” adding smaller venues might not be able to reopen if they go through another round of shutdowns.

Yet, Isbell noted, “the problem is” that many of the venue owners are “getting so much pushback from some of the governors of certain states who want to kowtow to their political base.”

Key Background:

With vacations lagging and the dangerous delta variant spreading, the United States is averaging more than 100,000 new cases a day for the first time since early February. Amid the rise in infections, it was reported last week that one of the world’s most prominent concert promoters, Live Nation, will allow artists performing at its venues to require guests in the U.S. to show proof of vaccination or a negative Covid-19 test. Live Nation also announced a vaccination requirement for employees entering events, venues or offices, which will take effect October 4. “Our business and our industry is about uniting people, and vaccines are one of the greatest tools for making sure that everyone can continue to enjoy live music together,” CEO Michael Rapino wrote to the company’s employees. However, Rapino’s memo notes that Live Nation and artists can only make vaccines a requirement “where permitted by law.” Artists performing at government-operated venues in states where lawmakers have prohibited vaccine mandates will be prohibited from enforcing such measures.

Crucial Quote: 

“I’m all for freedom, but I think if you’re dead, you don’t have any freedoms at all,” Isbell said. “So it’s probably important to stay alive before you start questioning your liberty.”

Chief Critic:

After Isbell announced last week Jhe would require enhanced Covid countermeasures at his show in Austin, Texas, singer-songwriter Marc Broussard took to Twitter to lash out at Isbell, calling him “bourgeois” and “elitist.” Broussard asserted, “some working-class fans can’t afford the risks associated with either the vaccines or even getting a test,” adding, “I’d rather quit music than become a pawn in the pressure campaign.” He did not provide any evidence of the risks he claimed were associated with getting the jab or receiving a test. 

Big Number:

99.99%. That’s the percentage of people fully vaccinated against Covid-19 who have not had a breakthrough case resulting in hospitalization or death, according to the CDC. 

Further Reading:

As Delta Variant Spreads, Artists and Venues Scramble to Keep Concerts Safe (Rolling Stone) 

Live Nation Allows Artists to Require Vaccination or Proof of Negative Test Result for U.S. Concerts (Variety)


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