Coachella, Stagecoach festivals do not require COVID-19 vaccination, tests or masks
Coachella, Stagecoach festivals do not require COVID-19 vaccination, tests or masks

Coachella, Stagecoach festivals do not require COVID-19 vaccination, tests or masks

Organizers of Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival and sister event it Stagecoach Country Music Festival announced that they would drop previously announced COVID-19 requirements for vaccination, testing and masking to attend the three weekend, three-day shows scheduled for Indio in April.

“As we prepare to spend an incredible weekend in the desert together, we announce that there will be no vaccination, testing or masking requirements at Stagecoach 2022, in accordance with local guidelines,” a Stagecoach social media post read on Tuesday, February. 15.

Coachella’s website was also updated to reflect that it would be to follow local guidelines and not require vaccinations, testing or masking. The festivals take place at the Empire Polo Club in Indio, Riverside County.

Beginning February 16, The California Department of Public Health recommends rather than requiring proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test if more than 10,000 people attend an outdoor event. During the omicron rise, this threshold was 5,000.

In the past, Riverside County Supervisors have said they want to follow the state’s COVID-19 guidelines, and have revoked orders that went beyond them at the time.

“Riverside County Public Health continues to support measures that protect them in the community, whether it’s a small family reunion or a concert with tens of thousands of people. Large events with attendees from around the world pose a greater risk, and we strongly recommend “Participants should be vaccinated and wear a mask,” Jose Arballo Jr., a spokeswoman for Riverside County Public Health, wrote in an email. “The level of community transmission is a critical factor that will help determine the risk, and right now it is unknown and difficult to predict. “

Coachella, the headline this year by Harry Styles, Billie Eilish and Ye (the artist formerly known as Kanye West) held on consecutive weekends, 15.-17. April and 22.-24. The event has attracted about 125,000 people per. weekend. Both weekends with Coachella are sold out.

Stagecoach, who stays with the headlines Luke Combs, Carrie Underwood and Thomas Rhett the following weekend, April 29-1. May, has a capacity of more than 75,000. There are still tickets for Stagecoach.

Goldenvoice, a concert organizer that is part of the larger company AEG Presents, organizes both events. None of them Coachella or Stagecoach happened in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemicalthough other major festivals returned around the country last summer and fall.

Not requiring masks, vaccinations, or coronavirus testing for an event like Coachella or Stagecoach “just sounds like a recipe for trouble,” said Richard Carpiano, a public health expert and professor of public policy at UC Riverside.

“We probably know at this point about how important vaccinations are in terms of personal and collective safety, and you have an event that draws people from all over the place,” he said. “This is a contagious disease, and then (festival goers) can pass it on to others … There are all sorts of unintended consequences that can come out of this.”

A middle ground for COVID-19 preventative measures at festivals like Coachella is possible, Carpiano added.

“For a place that was responsible enough to shut things down (earlier in the pandemic), this really seems like a radical shift back in a way.”

However, Goldenvoice’s website outlines that health policies may be amended at any time “as determined by federal, state or local government bodies or instruments” and may include changes in capacity, access requirements or measures such as wearing masks.

Festival officials did not respond to a request for comment.

Before the pandemic, face clothing was not uncommon at Coachella and Stagecoach because of the wind and dust that can sweep through the venue.

Fans commented on Stagecoach’s Instagram post in support of the change in COVID-19 policies, but some complained because they already had returned their passports for reimbursement.

In a Twitter thread on Tuesday, Carpiano wrote that Stagecoach’s audience is “known for skewing white conservatives – a strong prediction for hesitation / rejection of vaccines. There is thus (there is) considerable ‘risk pool’ in that amount.”

However, on Coachella Subreddit, there was more discussion about the changes, with several disappointed commentators. Some pointed to festivals, such as Lollapalooza, that successfully implemented vaccination and testing requirements. Many users said they would still wear a mask because of the dust at the festival.

The Super Bowl LVI, which just took place at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood on Sunday, February 13, had an attendance of about 70,000 people and required proof of vaccination or a negative test to enter. Masks were also required, though few people wore them indoors.

In August 2021, AEG, the parent company of Goldenvoice, announced it vaccinations would be required for its festivals and live events after October 1st. But in October, Goldenvoice updated this position, saying that each festival could have its own health policy and updated the websites for events, including Coachella and Stagecoach to reflect the possibility of evidence of full COVID-19 vaccination or a negative test taken before the start of the festival.

Goldenvoices latest California Vibes Reggae Festival, which took place in Long Beach earlier in Februaryrequired participants to present proof of full vaccination or evidence of a negative PCR test taken within two days of arrival at the festival or a negative antigen test taken within one day of arrival.

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