Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion won’t require vaccination proof or negative COVID test, despite Jason Isbell announcement


FILE – Jason Isbell performs in concert as Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit on Feb. 6, 2018, in Baltimore. The Grammy-winning singer songwriter said on Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2021, he is going to donate to the NAACP any money he makes from Morgan Wallen’s cover of one of his songs. Wallen, who has had the No. 1 album in the country for the past four weeks, was caught on camera last week saying a racial slur, but sales of his record increased after radio stations removed him from their playlists. (Photo by Owen Sweeney/Invision/AP, File)

BRISTOL, Tenn./Va. (WJHL) – Organizers of the 2021 Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion have released a statement detailing COVID-19 protocols at the festival.

In the statement, organizers with the Birthplace of Country Music stated that they have spoken with multiple leaders about how to go forward with the event as COVID-19 cases rise.

“The Birthplace of Country Music (BCM) has had numerous conversations with our local, regional and state leaders to assess options available to us concerning the requirement by one of our artists for our patrons to either provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a negative test within 72 hours of attending the festival,” the statement reads.

On August 9, Rhythm and Roots headliner Jason Isbell announced in a tweet that proof of vaccination or negative COVID-19 tests would be required at performances from his band, Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit.

In the statement, organizers of the Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion announced they would not be requiring vaccination proof or negative tests.

“After exploring all options, we have concluded that we cannot impose a vaccine mandate or negative test policy at this time without a state mandate,” the statement reads.

Organizers stated they do encourage patrons to get vaccinated and request that unvaccinated people planning to attend be tested for COVID-19 ahead of the festival.

BCM Marketing Director Charlene Baker told News Channel 11 that as of Wednesday morning, Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit were still in the lineup for the festival.

The following measures will also be taken at the event:

  • Continue to follow health and safety mandates sset forth by the states of Tennessee and Virginia, local health departments, and the CDC.
  • Masks will be available at the festival gates.
  • Hand sanitizing and hand washing stations will be available within the festival.
  • Additional sanitizing measurements will be provided throughout the festial footprint.

The festival will be held September 10-12.

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