Jason Isbell Is Requiring Proof of Vaccination from Concert-Goers

"If the venue won't allow that, we won't play"

Photo: David McClister

BY Megan LaPierrePublished Aug 9, 2021

The latest in the slew of musicians addressing pandemic precautions for their upcoming tour dates, American singer-songwriter Jason Isbell has decided to require proof of vaccination or a current negative COVID-19 test result to attend his concerts.

UPDATE 08/11/21, 1:11 p.m. ET: Jason Isbell has cancelled his show scheduled for tonight in Houston, TX, because the venue won't comply with his vaccine policy. The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion issued a statement saying they supported the requirements set by Isbell and his team, but "timing is an issue." They added: "To implement a major change in policy such as what is requested will take more time than we have." Isbell took to Twitter to let fans know that the Pavilion's statement was false, writing that Live Nation — the promoter — was on board, "but the venue owner flat-out refused to even attempt to implement the policy."

Isbell appeared on MSNBC today to discuss the requirement, telling host Stephanie Ruhle:

All the response I've gotten from people in the business has been positive because they understand that we could go back to not working at all and a lot of these smaller venues, they aren't going to be able to reopen if they go through another round of shutdowns... they're just getting so much pushback from some of the governors of certain states who want to kowtow to their political base and try to make people think that their freedom is being encroached upon. I'm all for freedom but I think if you're dead, you don't have any freedoms at all. It's probably important to stay alive before you start questioning your liberty. It's life and then it's liberty and then it's the pursuit of happiness — those are in order of priority.

"We're now requiring proof of vaccination or a current negative test to attend all our shows, indoors or out," he added in a tweet. "If the venue won't allow that, we won't play."

The musician is embarking on an extensive tour of the U.S., with the most recent dates featuring guest Lucinda Williams.

Other artists — including Japanese Breakfast and Sylvan Esso — have recently announced similar mandates for their shows in an effort to make the return to live music as safe as possible for everyone. Meanwhile acts like Fall Out Boy are cancelling dates in the face of breakthrough infections (and forcing Weezer to do a "Sugar We're Goin Down" cover in their absence) within their touring team, despite all being vaccinated.

Watch the clip of Isbell on MSNBC below.

The artist recently covered Metallica's "Sad But True" for their forthcoming The Blacklist charity covers collection celebrating 30 years of The Black Album.

Tour Dates

Latest Coverage