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Arts

More St. Louis Music Venues Require COVID-19 Vaccination Or Negative Test

 Seats at the Big Top in Grand Center are taped off to allow for social distancing.  [3/31/21]
File photo/Theo R. Welling
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Special to St. Louis Public Radio
The Kranzberg Arts Foundation resumed live events at its Grand Center venue the Big Top in March. Several venues operated by the Kranzberg, plus Jazz St. Louis and the Music at the Intersection festival, will require attendees to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a recent negative test.

The list of St. Louis concert events and venues tightening their COVID-19 safety measures just got longer.

Organizers of Music at the Intersection, a three-day festival set for Grand Center in September, announced Thursday that concertgoers will need to show proof they have received the COVID-19 vaccine or a negative coronavirus test.

The Kranzberg Arts Foundation, a major producer of the festival, will enforce a similar policy at its indoor venues, including the Grandel, the Dark Room and .ZACK. So too will Jazz St. Louis, which is one of six venues hosting shows during the festival.

Organizers expect about 10,000 people to attend the festival.

St. Louis arts leaders say the safeguards are necessary to protect people against the delta variant of the coronavirus, which spreads quickly and now accounts for most new infections of the virus in the U.S.

“We felt that with the current surge in delta, the feedback and wishes of the supermajority of the stakeholders that we value and work with, the decision was very easy for us to make,” Kranzberg Arts Foundation Executive Director Chris Hansen said.

The foundation had been allowing limited numbers of patrons at its indoor venues and requiring mask use. Jazz St. Louis hasn’t yet held any concerts since suspending them at the onset of the pandemic in March 2020.

They will join other St. Louis venues including Off Broadway, the Pageant and Delmar Hall in requiring patrons to display their vaccination card or a recent negative test in order to enter.

Other Kranzberg venues affected by the policy are the Marcelle, High Low Listening Room and the Black Box and Studio at the Kranzberg.

Even with such protocols in place, venues have continued to cancel or postpone some performances as the delta variant fuels a surge in coronavirus infections, with unvaccinated people accounting for almost all of the related hospitalizations and deaths. Jamband Joe Russo’s Almost Dead had been scheduled to perform at the Pageant on Saturday and Sunday but postponed the shows until March 2022.

Besides Jazz St. Louis, Music at the Intersection will include performances at the Fabulous Fox Theatre, the Big Top, the Sheldon Concert Hall and Art Galleries, the Grandel and the outdoor tent where the Kranzberg has hosted performances regularly over the past year.

Though festival attendees will need to comply with the stricter coronavirus protocols at all venues, patrons for future events at the Kranzberg-run Big Top and its outdoor tent will not be required to produce proof of vaccination or a negative test. Health officials say the coronavirus spreads much more readily indoors than outdoors.

“More and more we know that the real protection from serious COVID illness is vaccination,” Jazz St. Louis President and CEO Gene Dobbs Bradford said. “So it makes sense that we require [proof of vaccination or a negative test] because it’s going to help to keep down not only the risk of infection but also the risk of spreading.”

Follow Jeremy on Twitter: @jeremydgoodwin

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