American country star Jason Isbell is sticking to his guns and has cancelled his scheduled headlining appearance at the Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion festival, as the venue would not adopt his requirement of requiring proof of vaccination or a negative Covid-19 test.
Isbell posted to his social media accounts on Wednesday to announce the decision with the message, “We won’t be appearing at the Rhythm and Roots Reunion this year. Y’all be safe!”
The country singer previously announced that he would implement new measures to protect his audience against the rising number of Covid-19 cases. Isbell had previously cancelled a show at Houston’s Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion in accordance with the policy. The venue claimed it didn’t have enough time to adhere to his policy, but Isbell countered by saying the venue “flat out refused” to follow it.
Isbell’s stance makes him one of the few figures in country music insisting on stricter safety measures to protect against increasing covid cases. In America, country has a prominent (and somewhat stereotypically) conservative audience, many of whom have kicked back at getting vaccinated or wearing masks. As it stands, only about half of Americans are fully vaccinated, and Covid-19 cases are rising in large numbers in states like Florida and Mississippi.
Isbell isn’t the only major artist requiring vaccination or negative tests. Currently, touring acts like Foo Fighters and Dead and Company have implemented similar policies, while artists like Stevie Nicks and Garth Brooks have cancelled their planned tours.
Brooks is one of the more openly progressive superstars in country music, having performed at the inauguration of Joe Biden and establishing support for the LGBT community that spans over two decades.
Isbell was also once in an awesome band called Drive-By Truckers that more people should listen to. Country music for people who don’t like country. Check out ‘Goddamn Lonely Love’ down below.