There’s a lot of uncertainty in the air right now about COVID-19, and just how much the quickly spreading Delta variant threatens to upend our societal attempt to return to some semblance of normalcy when it comes to public activities like going to the movies and concerts. But at least one artist has found a fresh way to exercise caution on his upcoming tour. Nashville singer/songwriter Jason Isbell and his band the 400 Unit will require proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test at all their upcoming shows. “If the venue won’t allow that, we won’t play,” Isbell affirmed on Twitter.
“I’m all for freedom, but if you’re dead, you don’t have any freedoms at all,” he told MSNBC. “It’s probably important to stay alive before you start questioning your liberty.”
Musician @JasonIsbell on why he's requiring coronavirus vaccinations at his concerts: "I'm all for freedom but I think if you're dead, you don't have any freedoms at all."@MSNBC pic.twitter.com/X6NYheDWGL
— Stephanie Ruhle Reports (@RuhleOnMSNBC) August 9, 2021
Isbell isn’t alone. Japanese Breakfast plans on similar requirements for upcoming shows, and New York City will require anyone who attends a concert or Broadway show to have proof of vaccination.
Isbell says that he’s gotten mostly positive reactions from people in the live music industry, many of whom are willing to make some strict rules in order to prevent another lockdown — one which many venues aren’t in a position to take a chance on, financially. “It’s life, and then it’s liberty and then it’s pursuit of happiness,” Isbell says. “Those are in order of priority.”
Isbell’s gained a reputation as keen lyricist, detailing his experiences with love every bit as honestly as he has his own recovery from addiction. He’s also about to get into the acting game with a role on Martin Scorsese’s upcoming Killers of the Flower Moon, opposite Leonardo DiCaprio.