Music News

These Arizona Music Venues Will Require Negative COVID-19 Tests or Vaccinations

A concert at Crescent Ballroom in early 2020.
A concert at Crescent Ballroom in early 2020. Jim Louvau
A group of 17 independent music venues from around Arizona announced on Monday they’ll require all concertgoers to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test result or vaccination starting next month.

Eleven metro Phoenix venues will adopt the policy, which will go into effect by September 20, including The Rebel Lounge, Crescent Ballroom, Celebrity Theatre, The Nash, Valley Bar, the Where?House, Tempe’s Marquee Theatre, Westside Blues & Jazz in Glendale, and Mesa's Nile Theatre. The Orpheum Theater and Yucca North in Flagstaff and Tucson's Club Congress, 191 Toole, Rialto Theatre, and Fox Theatre are also participating.

According to a joint statement announcing the news, the venues are adopting the policy to encourage vaccinations, help lessen the spread of COVID-19 and its more contagious Delta variant, and avoid canceling or postponing future concerts.

“We encourage everyone who can receive a vaccination to do so, for their own benefit and for the benefit of all of us," the statement read. "We are taking this necessary step for Arizona's music fans to ensure that all concerts this fall can happen as scheduled. We have a responsibility to our community and there are expectations for all who want to participate in activities in which they share an environment with other people."

Rhythm Room owner Bob Corritore told Phoenix New Times on Monday the vaccine mandates are a necessary step to help end the pandemic.

“Nobody likes the new normal, but public safety has to be put first,” Corritore says. “I hope that a year from now we can [look back and] say the virus is behind us.”

Some participating venues may implement the policies prior to September 20. Details about how the verification process will work are still being determined and will be revealed at a later date.

click to enlarge The Rebel Lounge in central Phoenix. - THE REBEL LOUNGE'S FACEBOOK
The Rebel Lounge in central Phoenix.
The Rebel Lounge's Facebook
The news comes days after high-profile entertainment companies and promoters Live Nation and AEG Presents both announced they would mandate artists and concertgoers to provide proof vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test result at all of their venues and events this fall. 

The Arizona Republic reported the move by local venues to implement a vaccine mandate was spearheaded by Crescent Ballroom and Valley Bar co-owner Charlie Levy. Venues like The Rebel Lounge reportedly had similar policies already in the works.

Other Valley promoters and venue owners who weren't a part of the announcement told New Times they will follow suit in the next few weeks or months.

Relentless Beats, which promotes electronic dance music concerts and festivals around Arizona, will also adopt the requirements, according to company owner Thomas Turner.

Some local venues won’t participate. Brannon Kleinlein, owner of Last Exit Live in downtown Phoenix, said in a text message to New Times his patrons won’t be required to show proof of vaccinations or a negative test to attend concerts. (Masks are encouraged, but optional.) He admits that could change in the future, though.

“Our policy will currently remain unchanged,” Kleinlein says. “It will be decided and/or adjusted on a show-by-show basis and can be changed or updated as we see fit or as circumstances change.”
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Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.