KANSAS CITY, Mo — Venues like T-Mobile Center have to follow the mask mandates set by the city or county, but entertainers are also dictating if people need to be vaccinated to attend shows.
“We have events that are announced that are traveling all the way across the country. Different artists have different comfort levels and different requirements as it relates to vaccine proof,” said Shani Tate Ross, V.P. of Sales and Marketing at the T-Mobile Center.
Tickets go on sale Friday for the James Taylor concert, scheduled for Dec. 5. The Grammy winner is requiring proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test 72 hours prior to entering the T-Mobile Center.
“If you’re not vaccinated and you don’t have a negative COVID test, that’s really on you,” said concertgoer Lillian Williams, who’s fully vaccinated. “For me, I feel like it kind of wouldn’t matter either way because I would feel comfortable. At least I know that I am and the people that I’m with are at least protect against COVID.”
But Stephen Poppy wasn’t as enthusiastic that things seem to be moving forward this way.
“With the freedoms that we have in the U.S., we are blessed to be able to make personal choices like that,” Poppy said. “If these private citizens, James Taylor and all these other artists, want to make decisions of that variety, they’re going to cut off their fan base to some extent.”
Tate Ross said artists dictating policies for their shows isn’t new to the pandemic.
“We’ve had artists that have made you put your phone away, and you’ve been ejected for when you’ve had your phone out because they don’t want their material to be on different mediums whether social or otherwise,” she said. “So there’s no difference than there was before COVID. There’s a heightened awareness, but whether it’s a bag policy, a ticketing policy, those things continue to evolve and change as it relates to every single event.”
Elvis Costello is requiring the same vaccination rules as Taylor for his Friday night concert at The Uptown Theater.
Currently, AEG Presents requires proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test 72 hours before a show at its events, including those at the Arvest Bank Theatre at The Midland. But beginning Oct. 1, unvaccinated people will not be allowed to attend. All staff and ticketholders will have to be fully vaccinated.