AEG Presents, one of the largest live concert and event companies in the world, announced Thursday that it will require proof of COVID-19 vaccination for all U.S. concertgoers and event staff in light of the highly transmissible delta variant.
The policy go into effect no later than Oct. 1, 2021, according to the company. Until then, AEG Presents will require proof of vaccination or a negative Covid test taken within 72 hours of show date, where permitted 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."
"The Delta variant, combined with vaccine hesitancy, is pushing us in the wrong direction again," Marciano added. "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.”
"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, the company's COO and general counsel, added. "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 said that they are waiting until Oct. 1 to implement the new policy to give people time to get fully vaccinated, and noted that acceptable forms of documentation include showing a physical COVID-19 vaccine card, a digital copy, or other proof of vaccination.
If you forget your proof of vaccination? "You won’t get in," the company said. "So please don’t."
AEG Presents will still be mandating negative COVID-19 tests for people under 12 years old, for whom COVID-19 vaccines are not yet authorized.
The company said that masks are still "strongly encouraged" at their shows to slow the spread of COVID-19, and noted that they "will accommodate medical and religious exemptions upon submission of necessary documentation," urging concertgoers to contact their venue or festival directly regarding such accommodations.
The company urged those who are unwilling to get vaccinated to reconsider, but added that they will have more information about refunds in the coming weeks.
"We wish you would reconsider your choice because this is a matter of public health, and we won’t get to have nice things like normal concerts without masks unless everyone gets vaccinated," the company wrote. "However, if you would prefer to miss the show, we will have an update on limited refund availability, guided by local regulations, closer to October 1."
AEG Presents either owns or partners on a number of festivals and venues, including the Coachella Music & Arts Festival, the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, the Firefly Music Festival, New York’s Webster Hall and Brooklyn Steel and The Roxy and El Rey Theatre in Los Angeles.