As artists, venues and promoters around the world decide what their policies should be regarding seeking COVID test results and/or proof of vaccination from audiences at their shows, live music giant AEG has announced that the latter – ie proof of vaccination – will be required to gain entry to pretty much all of its US venues and festivals from 1 Oct. For some venues and events, that requirement will come into force sooner.
AEG Presents CEO Jay Marciano says that policy decision has been made as the delta variant of COVID continues to spread and with the low uptake of the vaccination in some parts of the US.
“We have come to the conclusion that, as a market leader, it was up to us to take a real stand on vaccination status”, he said in a statement yesterday. “Just a few weeks ago, we were optimistic about where our business, and country, were heading. The delta variant, combined with vaccine hesitancy, is pushing us in the wrong direction again”.
“We realise that some people might look at this as a dramatic step”, he added, “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”.
There will be a little flexibility in the new company-wide vaccines policy. Shawn Trell, COO and General Counsel of AEG Presents, explained: “Certain states’ regulations may override our mandate, or a few artists may not want to immediately get on board with the plan, but we know that using our platform to take a strong position on vaccinations can make an impact. 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”.
Providing more background to the policy position, AEG added: “The vaccination policy, limited only as required by law, will be in full effect nationwide no later than October 1, 2021. Several venues have already been following local government vaccination mandates, with others anticipated to come in the weeks leading up to October 1. The date was chosen specifically to allow time for any eligible unvaccinated ticketholders and staff to reach fully vaccinated status should they choose to do so”.
“Leading up to October 1”, it went on, “AEG Presents will be implementing a policy of showing proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test taken within 72 hours of show date where permitted”.
AEG’s main rival Live Nation recently stated that individual artists can decide on COVID-related entry rules for any shows the company is promoting or hosting in the US, which means any artist can likewise require proof of vaccination for entry, or the vaccine-or-negative-test option, or choose not to have any such requirements in place. It’s thought that policy is likely to be adopted by Live Nation in other markets too. It’s not yet clear if the AEG vaccines policy will be extended worldwide.
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