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PromoWest Venues To Require Proof Of Vaccination For Concert-Goers

An encouraging message displayed on the marquee at the Newport music venue reads "We will get through this Cbus."
Ryan Hitchcock

PromoWest Productions will soon require proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a negative test for those attending concerts in its venues.

PromoWest's parent company, AEG Presents, announced Thursday it'll be requiring proof of vaccination at all its venues no later than October 1. PromoWest, which operates local favorites like Newport Music Hall, EXPRESS LIVE!, The Basement and A&R Music Bar, will enforce the policy on August 18.

AEG CEO Jay Marciano said in a statement the announcement comes after the rise of the delta variant and vaccine hesitancy, which he added was "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," Marciano said. "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.”

Bruce Garfield, is the executive director of local non-profit Columbus Music Commission, He said PromoWest is making the right move.

"They're putting their customers, their staff and their artists ahead of the pocketbook," Garfield said. "They're making safety the number one priority."

He added that all of the artists he's spoken to support venues that have chosen to require proof of vaccination or negative COVID tests.

"The people in the music scene here really care, and I love the idea that our venues have stood up in the face of opposition in some cases," Garfield said. "The venues and in the states where there's pushback on vaccination or mask mandates, the artists are standing up and pushing back, and they will cancel or refuse to play."

AEG also stated that they will accept medical and religious exemptions as long as those eligible have the necessary documentation. Furthermore, while not requiring face masks, they highly encourage people to wear masks at their events. And until Oct. 1, they will also be accepting proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of the event.

Other venues requiring proof of vaccination include Natalie's Coal-Fired Pizza and Live Music and its sibling locations, Ace of Cups and Spacebar, one of the first venues in the city to do so.

Michael Lee joined WOSU in 2021, but was previously an intern at the station in 2018. He is a graduate from Northwestern's Medill School of Journalism where he obtained his master's degree, and an alumnus of Ohio State University. Michael has previously worked as an intern at the Columbus Dispatch and most recently, the Chicago Sun-Times.