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AEG Presents, the live music and event company behind some of the biggest concerts in the country, announced Thursday that it will be requiring proof of vaccination for entry into its owned and operated clubs, theaters and festivals amid the surge in Delta variant cases. AEG Presents is either an owner or partner in the likes of New York’s Webster Hall and Brooklyn Steel, The Roxy and El Rey Theatre in Los Angeles, The Theatre at Resorts World Las Vegas, Firefly Music Festival, Day N Vegas, The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival and Coachella Music and Arts Festival, among others. Coachella was canceled in both 2020 and 2021 but is set to return to the desert in April 2022.
The vaccination policy will be in full effect nationwide no later than Oct. 1, 2021, to allow time for those unvaccinated ticketholders and staff to get the shot. Several venues, including those in NYC, have already been following local government vaccination mandates, with others anticipated to come in the weeks leading up to Oct. 1. Ahead of that date, 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.
“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 of AEG Presents, said in a statement. “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 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.”
Added Shawn Trell, COO and General Counsel of AEG Presents: “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.”
The company added that the policy will remain open-ended and may be changed or reversed as informed by updates relating to infection rates, transmission data, variant developments and local and federal regulations.
“Our hope is that our pro-active stance encourages people to do the right thing and get vaccinated,” said Marciano, on the heels of New Orleans’ Jazz Fest cancelation. “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.”
Last week, Live Nation announced a more relaxed policy, having established a system whereby artists can require attendees and staff at their live events to be fully vaccinated or show a negative COVID test. New York City has also mandated at least one shot of the vaccine for indoor dining, gyms and performances, and on Wednesday Los Angeles City Council approved a motion that will require residents to prove vaccination status before entering indoor public spaces.
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