LEXINGTON, Ky. — Thousands of people are expected to flock to Lexington this weekend for the Railbird Music Festival. This large event comes as Kentucky deals with a record COVID-19 positivity rate, leaving some to wonder if this festival could exacerbate the problem. 

What You Need To Know

  • The Railbird Music Festival takes place Saturday and Sunday in Lexington

  • People will have to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test result to attend

  • Vaccinated guests will not have to wear a mask, but are asked to bring one

  • The 2019 Railbird Music Festival brought in 30.000 people. The festival was canceled in 2020 due to the pandemic


It's unclear how many people may attend the festival this weekend, but 30,000 people attended the Railbird Music Festival in 2019. The event was canceled last year due to the pandemic.

The Lexington-Fayette County Health Department spokesperson Kevin Hall said with the current state of the coronavirus, he is worried about potential spread from any big events. The department has no authority to shut down events, but can offer guidance. Hall said the department has been in contact with Railbird Music Festival organizers about safety precautions.

Those safety precautions including showing either proof of vaccination or a recent negative COVID-19 test.

"What has been indicated in other places is that putting these steps in place like requiring proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test can be helpful, but what we also need people to understand is there are things you can do to protect yourself," Hall said.

Although mask wearing is not required for vaccinated attendees, Hall urges people to wear one and try their best to keep distance from others.

Proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test result has been a growing trend as of late. That was the case at Lollapalooza at Grant Park in Chicago this summer. Event organizers estimate 385,000 people attended that. Over a month after the event, Chicago's top doctor said there was no evidence of Lollapalooza being a super spreader event.

For comparison, two weeks after the annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, COVID-19 cases in South Dakota rose nearly sixfold. That event did not ask people to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test result to attend.

The Railbird Music Festival runs Saturday and Sunday at Keeneland in Lexington. 

Here is a list of entry procedures as outlined on the event website:

  1. Comply with the Railbird Fan Health Pledge
  2. Each day, bring a printed copy of your vaccine card, vaccine record, or printed result of a negative COVID-19 test. That result must be obtained within 72 hours (3 days) of first attending Railbird. A rapid test or PCR test is acceptable. At home "self tests" are not.
  3. Bring your festival wristband
  4. If you are unvaccinated, wear a mask throughout your time on site
  5. Only clear bags will be allowed. You cannot bring in any liquids

You can find a full list of performances here.