AEG Presents, the second-largest live event company that runs music festivals like Coachella, Stagecoach and others, on Thursday announced it would be requiring proof of vaccination for any concert goers or staff entering one of its venues, theaters or festivals.
AEG Presents is an owner or a partner in venues such as New York’s Webster Hall and Brooklyn Steel, The Roxy and El Rey Theatre in Los Angeles and The Theatre at Resorts World Las Vegas. It also operates the Firefly Music Festival, Day N Vegas, The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, and Coachella Music & Arts Festival, and both the Jazz Fest and Coachella have already been postponed until 2022.
The vaccination policy will go into effect October 1, and leading up until October, any events will require proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of the event, all where applicable by law.
“We have come to the conclusion that, as a market leader, it was up to us to take a real stand on vaccination status,” Jay Marciano, COO of AEG and Chairman and CEO, AEG Presents, said in a statement. “Just a few weeks ago, we were optimistic about where our business, and country, were heading.”
He continued: “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.”
AEG’s policy follows a similar announcement by Live Nation, though rather than outright mandated proof of COVID-19 vaccines, Live Nation is giving artists the option to require it on their tours or in whichever venues they perform in, and they’ll also allow proof of a negative COVID-19 test. Live Nation said they had implemented the policy for Lollapalooza and that many artists are trending toward taking them up on the option.
AEG’s policy will be an open-ended policy, with any changes or reversals informed by updates relative to infection rates, transmission data, variant developments and local and federal regulations.
“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,” Shawn Trell, COO and general counsel for AEG Presents, 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.”
“Our hope is that our pro-active stance encourages people to do the right thing and get vaccinated,” Marciano added. “We’ve already had to deliver bad news about JazzFest this week; I think everyone can agree that we don’t want concerts to go away again, and this is the best way to keep that from happening.”