Some concert venues following artists’ lead on COVID-19 restrictions


DALLAS (NewsNation Now) — After a year and a half of virtually no live music concerts, venues across the nation have started back up. But the recent surge of COVID-19 cases is threatening to close the curtains once again, and some artists are making changes to their shows — including requiring proof of vaccination or negative test.

Mary Travis runs Billy Bob’s Concert Hall in Fort Worth, Texas. They bill themselves as the largest honkytonk in the world.

They’re hosting a Jason Isbell concert Friday. The musician asked all fans to show their COVID-19 vaccination cards or negative test results at the door. He cancelled a recent show in Houston where the venue wouldn’t comply, so Billy Bob’s booked him.

“I’m going to use tonight as a guidance. Either ‘hey we can do it, it’s easy,’ or ‘holy cow we can’t do it,'” said Marty Travis, who runs Billy Bob’s.

“It’s not about politics,” explained Travis. “It has nothing to do with whether or not I think you should or shouldn’t get vaccinated, because I don’t care. But if the artist asks us to do this and we agree to it, then we have to follow through with what we agreed to with that artist.”

Saturday’s show doesn’t have vaccine requirements, but Travis is ready for more of these requests. Artists like Maroon 5, Phish and the Killers also want fans to show proof of vaccination.

Concert promoter AEG says all ticketholders and employees must be vaccinated to get into their shows, including Coachella.

Live Nation, which owns Ticketmaster, had success at Lollapalooza earlier this month. Many people feared a superspreader event, but Chicago says there are only 203 cases connected to the 385,000 people who attended.

Meanwhile, in New Orleans, a city that heavily relies on tourism, food and music, Mayor Latoya Cantrell is enforcing some of the strictest mandates in the country. Vaccines are required for all indoor events, including restaurants, bars, sports and concerts.

“Follow the guidelines in place for Orleans Parish and we will come out of this the best we can, come out of it together, upholding the values that make this city so special,” Cantrell said.

It’s happening all across the country, from California to New York.

“We have got to act now, we don’t have time,” Cantrell said.

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