With less than a month before Bonnaroo 2021 kicks off (and amid another wave of COVID-19 infections in the U.S.), organizers of the Tennessee music festival are implementing a new policy to help keep everyone in attendance safe. This year, the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival will require attendees to present either proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test for entry.
“The safety of our patrons and staff is our number one priority,” say organizers of the four-day outdoor festival, which this year features headliners like Lizzo, Foo Fighters, Megan Thee Stallion, and Tame Impala.
While vaccines are not mandated at the festival, which is one of the country’s largest gatherings of its kind, Bonnaroo “strongly encourages vaccination,” according to the page on entry protocols. The page also emphasizes that August 19 is the latest date that people can get their second dose (for a Moderna or Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine) or single shot (for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine) and be fully vaccinated in time for the festival, which begins September 2. (Reminder: It takes two weeks after the final shot until someone is considered fully vaccinated.) Anyone who is not fully vaccinated in time for the festival will have to present a negative COVID-19 test result within 72 hours of their entry.
Festival-goers will need to present the necessary documentation at one of the medical tents located on the campgrounds outside of the main festival area and will receive a wristband that is required for entry. People who don’t have proof of vaccination or a negative test within 72 hours can get a rapid test onsite for $40. If an individual does test positive, they’ll get a complimentary second test (to verify the first result was not a false positive). If the second test is also positive, the person will be asked to leave immediately. According to the Bonnaroo site, anyone who tests positive at the festival or within 14 days prior to the festival is eligible for a ticket refund.
Unvaccinated individuals will be asked to wear a mask at all times (although the page does not say anything about enforcement). Masks will be required for all attendees while indoors, regardless of vaccination status. People are also being asked to follow standard self-screening procedures for COVID-19 symptoms (within 48 hours prior to attendance), exposure to someone with COVID-19 (within two weeks prior), or international travel to a country with travel or quarantine advisories (also within two weeks prior).
Bonnaroo 2021 is the latest in a wave of musical festivals, venues, and artists requiring fans to present proof of vaccination or a recent negative COVID-19 test. Chicago’s Lollapalooza in Chicago followed a similar policy in July, as will Milwaukee’s Summerfest in September. Concert promoter Live Nation recently decided they will permit artists to implement similar requirements for entry to their shows (if they choose to), Rolling Stone reports. And while citywide mandates like New York City’s remain the exception, a growing number of music venues in cities like Nashville and Washington, D.C., are also mandating negative tests or vaccination for entry.
Following a historically tough year for live music and concert lovers, the industry is still in a precarious state. Just this week, the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival was canceled and Stevie Nicks announced she was pulling out of the rest of her live performances this year. Considering the recent rise in cases due to the more infectious delta variant, putting COVID-19 safety first is a common sense move.