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One Of The Biggest Live Music Companies Will Require Full Vaccination

The Roxy Theatre in West Hollywood, CA will be one of 48 venues across the country affected by AEG's new policy.
Joe Scarnici
Getty Images
The Roxy Theatre in West Hollywood, CA will be one of 48 venues across the country affected by AEG's new policy.

Some of the most recognizable music venues across the country will soon require proof of vaccination to enter. The new rules will take full effect by Oct. 1. Until then audience and staff will be able to show a negative COVID test to enter.

AEG Presents, the world's second-largest live music company, announced today that it will start implementing a new vaccine policy across all the 48 clubs and theaters it owns or operates in the country. That includes New York City's Webster Hall, Los Angeles' El Rey Theatre, Denver's Bluebird Theater and others.

The policy will also cover the festivals run by AEG Presents — including Coachella, Firefly, and Day N Vegas.

The announcement did not specify a policy about masking.

In a statement announcing the policy, AEG Presents CEO Jay Marciano said "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."

The live music industry had been on the verge of returning to normalcy with tours kicking off and music festivals happening across the country. But the delta variant has dampened that initial burst of excitement. Concerts have been cancelled due to positive COVID tests, shows have been delayed, even AEG's own New Orleans Jazz Fest was cancelled this year due to a surge of COVID cases across Louisiana.

"Certain states' regulations may override our mandate, or a few artists may not want to immediately get on board with the plan," said AEG Presents General Counsel Shawn Trell in the press release. "But we know that using our platform to take a strong position on vaccinations can make an impact."

AEG's rival Live Nation took a different route. According to Variety, it's letting artists make individual decisions about whether to make any requirements at their shows.

AEG Presents' policy applies only to the clubs, theaters and festivals it owns or operates. A spokesperson for the company says AEG will make the request on behalf of their touring artists when they play shows at non-AEG venues.

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Corrected: August 12, 2021 at 9:00 PM PDT
A previous version of this story said that AEG would accept a negative test in lieu of a proof of vaccination. The company will accept negative tests only until Oct. 1. After that, concert attendees and staff must show proof of vaccination.
Andrew Limbong is a reporter for NPR's Arts Desk, where he does pieces on anything remotely related to arts or culture, from streamers looking for mental health on Twitch to Britney Spears' fight over her conservatorship. He's also covered the near collapse of the live music industry during the coronavirus pandemic. He's the host of NPR's Book of the Day podcast and a frequent host on Life Kit.