FORT WORTH, Texas - A country singer moved his concert from one Fort Worth venue to another so he could require concertgoers to be vaccinated.
The strategy could end up being a blueprint for entertainers who want to do this.
The general manager of Billy Bob’s, Marty Travis, said this is not a political statement or a new policy for their business.
They were notified by Jason Isbell of his required COVID-19 protocol, and they decided to honor that request.
"Anytime you make a decision like this, the pro vaxxers are going to love you, the anti-vaxxers are going to hate you. It’s not a political statement, not by Jason [Isbell] and not by Billy Bob’s," Travis explained.
Travis added they’re in the business of music, not politics.
"This is not politics for Billy Bob’s and what we’re trying to do here. We’ve made an agreement with four-day notice to do this, and we’re going to follow through with what we said we’re going to do," he said.
Travis said they were contacted earlier this week to see if their venue could host the Jason Isbell concert with Isbell’s required COVID-19 protocols, and after talking with the team, they decided they could do it.
"To me, it’s just another checkpoint as far as our business goes. You have to have a driver's license to get a stamp to drink, you have to have a ticket to get past the guy who checks tickets," Travis said. "[Friday], you’ll have to either have vaccination paperwork or a negative COVID test in the last 72 hours."
If vaccinated, those attending the show must have been fully vaccinated no later than July 30.
Guests under 12 who can’t be vaccinated don’t need to show proof of a negative test, but will have to wear a mask.
"If you want to come, follow the rules, we’d love to have you and have a good time. If you don’t want to come in, let us know. We’ll be happy to give you your money back," Travis said.
The show was rescheduled multiple times due to COVID-19. Originally, it was supposed to take place at other venues, but was moved because they couldn’t accommodate the COVID-19 protocols requested by the artist.
Isbell’s show in Houston on Wednesday was cancelled because the venue couldn’t comply with Isbell’s required COVID-19 protocol.
"We’re not making a statement, we’re not making anything. If we do this tonight and it works out, hopefully we’ll be the model for other businesses that may or may not want to do this," Travis said.
Travis said this is not a new regular policy for Billy Bob’s.
He said they’ll see how Friday night goes, and proceed on a case-by-case basis.