Dave Matthews Band has canceled a pair of upcoming shows in Durant, OK due to the group’s inability to implement its COVID-19 safety protocols at the planned venue.
According to a statement from the band on the canceled shows, previously slated to take place on October 15th and 16th at the Grand Theater at Choctaw Casino & Resort, “Unfortunately, it was not possible to implement the band’s Covid-19 policies in this venue. Refunds will be issued at the point of purchase.”
Dave Matthews Band has been on tour since late July. In early August, as the delta variant continued to spread, the band announced blanket COVID-19 protocols for all upcoming tour dates beginning on August 21st at Merriweather Post Pavilion. The protocols mirrored what has since become an industry standard: attendees must provide proof of full vaccination or a recent negative COVID-19 test to enter and are encouraged—though not required—to wear a mask.
Even with those policies in place, DMB experienced firsthand how quickly COVID-19 can still upend the best laid plans. Over Labor Day Weekend, the band was forced to perform without drummer Carter Beauford and bassist Stefan Lessard after both were exposed to the virus ahead of the band’s run at The Gorge.
The Durant, OK cancellation announcement did not give a specific reason why the band was unable to implement its protocols at the venue.
In other similar cases, the reasons behind such cancellations have boiled down to political red tape. Jason Isbell, for example, made headlines last month after he announced and later defended his choice to implement similar COVID-19 protocols at his shows. “In a lot of cases, some of the venues are receiving state funds and the states are threatening to withhold those funds for places who allow their artists to require proof of a COVID test,” Isbell said in an interview on MSNBC.
“We’ll just deal with whatever we have to deal with,” he continued, “and if we have to cancel some shows, we’ll cancel some shows.” Isbell later did just that, pulling out of his scheduled headlining appearance at Bristol Rhythm & Roots when local governments decreed that the event could not impose such requirements.
While a casino like Choctaw is likely not relying on state funds, the local government tends to set the tone for private business decisions in a given area. In Oklahoma, Governor Kevin Stitt has been outspoken in his opposition to vaccine mandates. As he recently stated in multiple tweets, “As long as I am governor, there will be no government vaccine mandates in Oklahoma.”
Dave Matthews Band tour is set to continue tonight, Tuesday, September 21st, at Jones Beach in Wantagh, NY. Proof of full vaccination and/or a a recent negative COVID-19 test will be required for entry.
For a full list of upcoming 2021 DMB tour dates, head here.
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