As the pandemic zigs, the live entertainment business zags | Music

• When Every Time I Die plays Aug. 26 at the Rec Room on West Chippewa Street, proof of a negative Covid-19 test taken on the day of the show will be required for entry, for both vaccinated and unvaccinated patrons.

This summer was starting to look like a bounce-back for the live entertainment industry. But now, red flags have appeared.

Musician Jason Isbell is being given credit for helping to draw attention to the dilemma theaters and venues face. Earlier this month, he began requiring that patrons had to show proof of vaccination to get into his shows. If venues would not comply, he said he would cancel shows.

Dave Wedekindt, vice president of concerts & marketing for Artpark, said that kind of approach seemed to have an effect.

“I think the artists are starting to collectively realize that they need to step up and use their voice, if it’s going to help more people get vaccinated,” he said. “Because as much as people want to debate about it, it is our ticket back to having these live events.”

A recent Artpark show featuring Joe Russo’s Almost Dead embraced a similar policy, and Wedekindt said there was “a serious lack of pushback.” That was a shift from the spring, when Artpark customers took to social media to complain about the venue’s proposed vaccinated-only policy – a policy that changed when Covid-19 protocols were lifted by New York State and is now changing again.

The shift is not confined to concert venues; other performance spaces have decided that it is too risky to leave it up to their audiences to decide how best to keep everyone safe.

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