Watershed Country Music Festival Linked to More Than 200 Covid Cases
UPDATE (8/17): Health officials in Washington state’s Grant County have updated the total number of Covid cases related to the Watershed festival outbreak to “over 230,” according to a release on Tuesday. Cases linked to the country music concert have been identified in 13 counties.
The Watershed country music festival has been linked to more than 200 Covid-19 cases since it was held July 30th through August 1st at the Gorge in Washington state. A spokesperson for the Grant County Health District updated the number of confirmed cases to 210, up from around 160 on Friday.
The three-day event in George, Washington, featured headliners Tim McGraw, Dierks Bentley, and Thomas Rhett and drew more than 25,000 fans, making it the largest outdoor concert to be held in Washington since the onset of the pandemic. It was also the first outbreak to be linked to an outdoor concert since the state lifted Covid-19 restrictions in June.
Cases have been identified among residents of 11 Washington counties, with at least one known case in Oregon. “We urge the public to self-quarantine and seek testing if you attended the music festival,” advised a release from Grant County Health District.
Watershed did not require proof of vaccination or a negative Covid test for entry, but such policies are quickly becoming the norm in the live music industry. Live Nation, which promotes Watershed and other country music festivals like Michigan’s Faster Horses, announced last week that all artists, crew and attendees at Live Nation venues and festivals will have to provide proof of full vaccination or a negative test beginning October 4th.
Lollapalooza, held in Chicago the same weekend as Watershed, was among the first festivals to require proof of vaccination. In contrast to Watershed’s 25,000-person attendance and 210 confirmed Covid cases, Lollapalooza drew approximately 385,000 fans, and was responsible for a reported 203 cases of Covid, according to Chicago’s public health department.
According to Michigan’s Department of Health and Human Services, the 2021 Faster Horses Festival, a three-day country music gathering held last month in Brooklyn, Michigan, has been linked to at least 101 cases of Covid-19.