Jason Isbell Cancels Show After Venue Refuses to Comply With COVID Vaccine Requirement

In response to Cynthia Woods Mitchel Pavilion's claim that there is 'a timing issue' to implement the new policy, the country singer says the venue 'flat-out refused to even attempt to implement the policy.'

AceShowbiz - Jason Isbell was serious when he said he's not going to perform unless every member of the audience was jabbed. The country music singer has canceled his show which was scheduled on Wednesday night, August 11 after the venue refused to comply with health protocols he requires.

On Tuesday, Isbell and The 400 Unit announced the decision to cancel the show in Houston altogether. In a statement from his label, they claimed that the venue, Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, "was not willing to comply with the band's updated Health and Safety standards."

Reporter Sally MacDonald objected to Isbell's statement, writing on Twitter, "The pavilion statement doesn't say they weren't willing to comply. It says they couldn't implement a change like that on short notice. Like everywhere else they are short-staffed, too."

In a statement to Rolling Stone, Jerry MacDonald, the president and CEO of the venue, echoed that timing was the issue. "We got the request for the change on Monday. To implement a major change in policy such as what was requested would take more than 2 days to properly implement," he argued. "We would hold our staff to the same standard as our guests and there needs to be time to address this logistically. We are currently following all CDC guidelines in operating The Pavilion."

He went on explaining how the venue would ensure the safety of concertgoers, "The venue is an outdoor, open-air facility. The Isbell show would have been at about 10% capacity with the ability to socially distance. The Pavilion gave Mr. Isbell and his team several options to produce a safe event at the venue and even offered to postpone the show to a date when the protocols could be implemented. All options were denied."

Isbell, however, disputed the venue's claim that timing was the issue, saying in a tweet, "The pavilion statement is false. Live Nation, the promoter, was on board but the venue owner flat-out refused to even attempt to implement the policy." His rep added, "Our agent contacted Live Nation in Houston on July 31st with our new protocols."

Live Nation, meanwhile, was "fully supportive of Jason Isbell's decision to require fans to provide proof a negative COVID-19 test or full vaccination for entry to his shows. We also encourage everyone who can to get vaccinated as that is the best way for us all to take care of each other and get back to doing what we love."

Isbell announced his decision to implement the new policy on August 8. "We're now requiring proof of vaccination or a current negative test to attend all our shows, indoors or out," he tweeted. "If the venue won't allow that, we won't play." He also said, "I'm all for freedom, but I think if you're dead, you don't have any freedoms at all."

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