Worried about Garth Brooks’ Kansas City show, local lawmaker asks: ‘Cancel the concert?’

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Nearly 60,000 fans are expected to pack Arrowhead Stadium for Garth Brooks’ sold-out show Saturday despite concerns about the spread of the Delta variant in the Kansas City area.

Now a Jackson County legislator is the latest to voice concerns about the country music star’s upcoming concert in Kansas City.

“I was sitting here thinking that, why don’t we just cancel the concert? We might save 10 (thousand) or 15,000 lives there, I don’t know,” Jackson County Legislator Ron Finley said in Monday’s meeting.

But that wasn’t Finley’s only question. He also asked if there were any health precautions — such as performing temperature checks, providing face masks or offering COVID-19 tests, that county could take at the concert to stem the spread of the virus.

“Clearly this is out of control,” Finley said. “And I appreciate the cooperation of the staff and administration but we need to step up our efforts somehow it occurs to me if there’s any feasible legal way to do that.”

But a county official confirmed that because Arrowhead Stadium is within Kansas City’s jurisdiction, any safety measures would have to come from the city, its health department or the Kansas City Chiefs.

The Chiefs said they’re planning to host a vaccination event at Brooks concert on Saturday. They haven’t released any details beyond that, but Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas said he expects anyone vaccinated at Saturday’s clinic will have a chance to win seat upgrades in a raffle.

Kansas City also recently reinstated an indoor mask mandate, but Arrowhead Stadium is considered an outdoor facility so masks will not be required at the concert. The Chiefs recommend masks for anyone who isn’t vaccinated, though.

During his weekly Inside Studio G Facebook chat, Brooks also encouraged his fans to wear masks at his upcoming concerts.

“Please feel free to wear the masks at the concert. Nobody is going to look at you strange, I promise,” he said.

Finley isn’t the first person to raise concerns about the Garth Brooks concert. Doctors with the University of Kansas Health System also voiced caution.

“Here’s my personal preference: If you’re in a really big public space like that, with a whole lot of people, I think I’m gonna wear a mask there,” said Dr. Steve Stites, chief medical officer at KU Health System.

Stites also pointed out that the concert is outdoors and said that’s the one promising aspect of it from a safety standpoint. 

But Brooks dropped big news Tuesday about the future of his tour after his Kansas City stop. He said he’ll be reassessing whether to continue his stadium tour because of the rising number of COVID-19 cases.

He’s still scheduled to play the next two shows in Kansas City and Lincoln, Nebraska, but Brooks said he won’t put tickets on sale for the next planned stop, Seattle in September.

“It breaks my heart to see city after city go on sale and then have to ask those sweet people and the venues to reschedule,” Brooks said in a statement. “We have a three week window coming up where we, as a group, will assess the remainder of the stadium tour this year. It’s humbling to see people put this much faith in you as an artist, and it kills me to think I am letting them down.”

Brooks was already scheduled to take a three-week break after the Aug. 14 show in Nebraska and will take that time to assess what to do about the remainder of the dates in 2021. He is also scheduled to play Cincinnati; Charlotte, North Carolina; Baltimore and Boston.

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