https://www.theepochtimes.com/coachella-festival-drops-vaccine-requirement-will-allow-negative-covid-19-test-as-event-plans-2022-return_4048929.html

The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival changed its decision to require proof of a COVID-19 vaccine, allowing attendees to present proof of a negative coronavirus test taken within 72 hours of the event as an alternative.

“After seeing first-hand the low transmission data and successful implementation of safety protocols at our festivals recently, alongside the rising vaccination rate of eligible Americans, we feel confident that we can safely update our policy for Coachella,” event leaders posted to the Coachella website.

Organizers also noted plans may still change. “Plans and mandates may continue to change. We will continue to update this page with developments and more details closer to the festival,” the page added.

Coachella has long entertained fans as a leading music festival in California. The event was not held in both 2020 and 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The 2022 event is scheduled for April 15–17 and 22–24. The related Stagecoach event, featuring top country musical artists, is slated for April 20–May 1.

The upcoming Coachella event is already sold out, according to the event’s Twitter account. A growing waitlist remains available for those seeking to attend the popular festival.

The plan reverses the decision made in August. AEG Presents, the company behind Coachella, provided a statement requiring proof of coronavirus vaccination.

“We have come to the conclusion that, as a market leader, it was up to us to take a real stand on vaccination status,” said Jay Marciano, COO of AEG and Chairman and CEO, AEG Presents in a statement.

“Just a few weeks ago, we were optimistic about where our business, and country, were heading. The Delta variant, combined with vaccine hesitancy, is pushing us in the wrong direction again. We realize that some people might look at this as a dramatic step, but it’s the right one. We also are aware that there might be some initial pushback, but I’m confident and hopeful that, at the end of the day, we will be on the right side of history and doing what’s best for artists, fans, and live event workers,” Marciano added.

Lollapalooza, the iconic, perennially sold-out music festival held in Chicago’s Grant Park since 2005, was only live-streamed in 2020 because of COVID-19, denying the city the 400,000 concert-goers’ spending on accommodations, travel, and food.

The popular festival returned to Chicago last summer with requirements similar to Coachella’s updated policies. Attendees could submit either proof of a COVID-19 vaccination or a negative test result.

Approximately 385,000 people attended the event, according to city officials. Despite some reports of positive COVID-19 cases following Lollapalooza, it did not become the “superspreader” event some feared.

Christopher Burroughs

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