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Want to noodle dance at Dead & Company shows? You’ll need to bring proof of vaccination

Dead & Company's John Mayer, Bill Kreutzmann and Bob Weir perform onstage in 2017.
Dead & Company’s John Mayer, left, Bill Kreutzmann and Bob Weir in 2017.
(C Flanigan / FilmMagic)

Dead & Company have become the highest-profile musical act to announce new vaccine protocols for concertgoers in advance of its upcoming tour dates.

When former Grateful Dead members Bob Weir, Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann team with guitarist John Mayer and others on the road next week, they’ll require that fans consider their fellow Deadheads’ well-being before joining them.

“We care so much about everyone involved in making this tour happen & all of you attending, so we will be requiring proof of full COVID-19 vaccination or negative test result within 48 hrs of your event to attend select dates of the tour,” the band announced on social media on Wednesday.

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Additionally, all Deadheads wanting to flop around in the pit near the stage must be fully vaccinated.

Clubs, musicians and promoters are all adjusting on the fly to the new surge of COVID-19 infections. Many now require proof of vaccination to attend events.

With the announcement, Dead & Company joins a growing list of artists, including Americana singer-songwriter Jason Isbell, super-producer Jack Antonoff’s band Bleachers and Southern rockers Widespread Panic, who are requiring proof of vaccine or a negative test result before entering their concert. The move comes as the Delta variant has upended what was supposed to be a busy summer and fall for musicians eager to reconnect with audiences.

In recent weeks, Stevie Nicks, Limp Bizkit, James Taylor and Bonnie Raitt have all postponed 2021 tour dates. “While I’m vaccinated,” wrote Nicks in a statement, “at my age, I am still being extremely cautious and for that reason have decided to skip the 5 performances I had planned for 2021.” Last week, country superstar Garth Brooks said that he was going to be reassessing whether or not to continue his current tour.

Live Nation, the world’s largest concert promoter, announced in early August that it would allow artists to make the final determination on vaccine protocols in states where no law is in place to address the issue. “We believe this is a great model, and we have already implemented this successfully at many major shows including Lollapalooza,” Live Nation chief executive Michael Rapino wrote in a note to his staff. “We know people are eager to return to live events and we hope these measures encourage even more people to get vaccinated.”

Joseph Arthur has spent the past year opposing the COVID-19 vaccine on social media. His manager and band quit, and his remaining fans beseech him to stop.

This week, the annual Bonnaroo festival, which takes place Sept. 2-5 in Manchester, Tenn., announced that it will require proof of vaccine or a negative test result from within 48 hours in order to attend. The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, canceled in 2020, was supposed to begin on Oct. 8, but with the Delta variant tearing through Louisiana, it was postponed until 2022.

Dead & Company will open its tour on Monday in Raleigh, N.C., and conclude two-and-a-half months later at the Hollywood Bowl, where they’ll play three nights, Oct. 29-31.

Because vaccine requirements vary by state, the band noted that protocols for tour dates in Texas, Florida, Virginia and Pennsylvania “will be announced shortly.”


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