Got plans for Coachella? You’ll now need to be vaccinated in order to get in. Starting October 1st, anyone who decides to step foot inside a concert venue or festival owned by AEG Presents, from ticketholders to staff, will need to show proof of full vaccination, the major concert company announced on Thursday, August 12th. Southern California’s two-weekend desert jamboree, set for April of next year, just happens to be a biggie.
AEG also owns or co-runs the likes of Firefly Music Festival, Day N Vegas, and New Orleans’ Jazz Fest, as well as storied establishments like New York’s Webster Hall and Brooklyn Steel, and Los Angeles’ Roxy and El Rey Theatre. According to press materials reviewed by Rolling Stone, the policy will remain “open-ended,” and changes to it may occur if and when new information surrounding infection rates, transmission data, and local and federal regulations presents itself.
Jay Marciano, COO of AEG and Chairman and CEO, AEG Presents, said in the press release that surges in Covid-19 cases are largely the reason the company decided to institute the policy. “Just a few weeks ago, we were optimistic about where our business, and country, were heading,” he said. “The Delta variant, combined with vaccine hesitancy, is pushing us in the wrong direction again. We realize that some people might look at this as a dramatic step, but it’s the right one. We also are aware that there might be some initial pushback, but I’m confident and hopeful that, at the end of the day, we will be on the right side of history and doing what’s best for artists, fans, and live event workers.” He added that the hope is that the “pro-active stance encourages people to do the right thing and get vaccinated.”
Shawn Trell, COO and General Counsel for AEG Presents, added that some states’ regulations may override AEG’s mandate — and some artists may not agree with it, potentially causing them to pull out of tour dates. “But we know that using our platform to take a strong position on vaccinations can make an impact,” he said. The message we want to send is simple and clear: the only way to be as safe as possible is to require everyone to be vaccinated. And we’re confident that others who haven’t been ready to make this full commitment yet will follow our lead.”
Marciano also touched on Jazz Fest’s recent cancellation, pointing out that AEG “already had to deliver bad news” this week. “I think everyone can agree that we don’t want concerts to go away again,” he said. “This is the best way to keep that from happening.”