Dallas Morning News
Four-time Grammy Award-winner Jason Isbell is requiring concertgoers to show proof of vaccinations or negative COVID-19 tests to get into his shows. And if the venue doesn’t adhere to those requirements, he said he plans on canceling the engagement. True to his word, he canceled a concert in Houston last week when the venue balked.
“I’m not saying anybody has to get a vaccine or a negative test, but if you don’t, you don’t get to come to the show,’’ he said during an interview on MSNBC. “I think that makes sense.”
Like Isbell, we wish more Americans would get vaccinated. And we cheer that Isbell is modeling behavior and communicating the importance of vaccinations for anyone who shares public spaces — a message that too many Americans haven’t taken to heart.
Isbell also is well within his rights to determine the terms of his performances and step away if those aren’t met. And his terms aren’t unreasonable at a time when infection rates are increasing and debates rage over mask and vaccination mandates.
Isbell also has a personal interest in safe venues that entertainers and the rest of us should share. Musicians are just now getting back to work after a year on shutdown, and Isbell worries that major outbreaks will idle them again. The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, which was set to take place in October, has been postponed due to rising COVID-19 infections.
We also know that more than 500,000 people in the United States died before the vaccines were readily available; deaths are over 600,000 now; and that the current surge of the virus is overwhelmingly among people who haven’t been vaccinated.
But we’ll let Isbell have the final words: “I’m all for freedom, but I think if you’re dead, you don’t have any freedoms at all.”