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Masked fans watch Becca Mancari's show at The Basement East, 8/6/2021

As of last week, three of Nashville’s many independent music venues had announced new policies in response of rising COVID case numbers, which health experts have linked to the highly contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus. Today, word comes that many more venues are joining in, outlining protocols that require proof of vaccination or a recent negative COVID test before entry.

In addition to The 5 Spot, The East Room and City Winery, you’ll now need to show your vaccination card or a negative test ahead of many shows at The Basement, The Basement East (where Friday’s Becca Mancari show, pictured above, took place; fans had to show proof of vaccination or a negative test before coming in), Dee’s Country Cocktail Lounge, Drkmttr, The End, Exit/In, Cannery Ballroom, The High Watt and Mercy Lounge. All-ages club Drkmttr made its announcement on Instagram this morning, and the other 12 venues sent out a joint press release including statements of their policies in full. Here are those details.

Update: After this story was published, additional venues announced vaccine protocols. We'll add those to this list as they come in, as well as update policy statements as often as possible.

3rd and Lindsley: 3rd and Lindsley follows COVID-19 protocol from Nashville's Good to Go Program and the Metro Public Health Department for all events — however, some exceptions may apply. Please see individual event pages for updated protocols on a show-by-show basis. Any changes in protocols will be communicated to ticket buyers and ticket holders at point of purchase and via email.

The 5 Spot: Proof of COVID-19 vaccine OR negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours prior to entry is required for entry. Masks required for staff. Effective 8/7/2021.

The Basement and The Basement East: Proof of a full course of COVID-19 vaccination, with their final dose at least fourteen days prior to the show, or proof of a negative COVID-19 test, administered by a health care provider, taken in the prior 48 hours. Masks are strongly recommended. Effective 8/15/2021.

The Bluebird Cafe: [This is an excerpt — read the full statement on The Bluebird's website.] In addition to our existing standards for health and sanitation, we are:

• Requiring, as of August 20, 2021 all Bluebird staff members to be fully vaccinated with either the Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccine. In the meantime, staff not yet fully vaccinated are required to present a negative Covid-19 test each week to their manager, within 48 hours of their first shift.

• Requiring staff members to wear a mask while on the premises until further notice.

• Requiring audience members, as of August 20, 2021 to show proof of full vaccination with either the Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccine or negative Covid-19 test administered by or under the supervision of a healthcare provider and taken within 48 hours of show entry. Fully Vaccinated/Full vaccination=final vaccination completed with 2nd shot at least 14 days prior. Proof of vaccination and test results must bear a name that matches the government-issued identification for the patron that is seeking entry.

We will accept a printed, or digital copy of a negative COVID-19 test result administered by or under the supervision of a healthcare professional within 48 hours of the date of the show you are attending. At-home tests will not be accepted under any circumstance.

We will accept a picture or scan on your cell phone, photocopy, or original document of your CDC-issued vaccination card. If you need a replacement vaccine card, you can contact your vaccine provider or local health department.

If our staff has grounds to believe that you have presented fraudulent or falsified documents, we reserve the right to deny you entry into our establishment. If you are unvaccinated, we encourage you to wear a mask even if you have tested negative for COVID within the past 48 hours before the show.

• Customers will be informed, through posted signage, that masks are encouraged and available.

City Winery: Proof of COVID-19 vaccine OR negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours prior to entry. Masks are required indoors when moving about the building. Effective 8/2/2021.

Dee’s Lounge: Proof of COVID-19 vaccine OR negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours prior to entry for all shows. Masks required for staff. Effective 8/12/21.

Drkmttr: Physical proof of vaccination (no photos) OR a negative PCR test within 48 hours of entry. Masks mandatory with the exception of drinking and eating. Refunds for presale purchases will be available for those who can’t meet these requirements. (There’s no “effective on” date, but Drkmttr’s first show since the beginning of the pandemic is a performance by Gatecreeper set for Sept. 5.)

The East Room: Proof of COVID-19 vaccine OR negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours prior to entry. Effective 8/6/2021.

The End: Proof of COVID-19 vaccine OR negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours prior to entry. Required for entry for all artists, crew, and guests. Effective 8/16/21.

Exit/In: Proof of COVID-19 vaccine, with final dose having been administered at least fourteen days prior to the show OR negative COVID-19 test within 48 hours administered by or under the supervision of a healthcare provider prior to entry. Masks required for staff and strongly recommended for patrons. Effective 8/12/2021.

Mercy Lounge, Cannery Ballroom and The High Watt: Proof of COVID-19 vaccine OR negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours prior to entry. Masks required for Staff and strongly recommended for Customers. Effective 8/13/2021.

The Schermerhorn: The Nashville Symphony has announced new health-and-safety protocols for entering the Schermerhorn Symphony Center, effective September 13. Highlights of the new policy:

  • Face masks are always required indoors at the Schermerhorn, with no exceptions for age, medical or religious reasons, or vaccination status.
  • Audience members must be fully vaccinated or have proof of a negative test within 48 hours of the performance. For patrons who cannot provide either, on-site rapid tests will be available for no charge through November 28.
  • The Schermerhorn has MERV-14 filters installed in all air-handling units throughout the venue. These filters are considered to be “hospital-grade” and are extremely effective at filtering out pathogens.
  • The policy was informed by extensive surveying of donors and patrons, and in consultation with the Symphony’s health and safety partner, HCA Healthcare/TriStar Health.

Read the full policy at

Springwater: Springwater Supper Club and Lounge stands in unity with our Nashville venue family. Effective August 13th, proof of full vaccination to enter the building. Masks are not required, but strongly recommended. Let's be safe out there as things are getting rough again. We do not want another full shutdown to happen. #supportlocalvenues #unity #staystrongstaysafe

You’ll note that policies differ slightly on things like the day they go into effect, how old your most recent negative COVID test can be and what the mask policy is in the building. To make sure that you’re on the same page about a show you’re going to see, visit the venue’s website or give a call to get clarification.

“Nashville’s creative working class is our city’s greatest strength,” says Exit/In co-owner Chris Cobb in the joint statement. “We will continue to collaborate to protect and nurture live music. Thank you to all the fans, bands, and venue staff for respecting each venue’s policy decisions. We will get through this together.”

While you can catch the virus and spread it even if you're vaccinated, the numbers of cases have been small compared to numbers among unvaccinated individuals in our state.

“We hope our decision to move forward with this results in more people getting the vaccination, pure and simple,” adds Mike Grimes, co-owner of The Basement and The Basement East. “Vaccinations save lives.”

Several artists, including Bully and Jason Isbell, have announced vaccine protocols for their upcoming shows. Soon, you may see more doing so, especially at larger venues. An internal memo from ticketing and touring giant Live Nation made its way to Variety’s Jem Aswad last week, noting that artists will, within the limits of local laws, have the option to stipulate a vaccine policy if there isn't one in place. “Our teams have worked together to put new processes in place so that artists doing shows with Live Nation in the U.S. can require all attendees and staff to be fully vaccinated or show a negative test result for entry, where permitted by law,” reads the letter in part. “We believe this is a great model, and we have already implemented this successfully at many major shows including Lollapalooza.”

Just before this story went live, Bonnaroo also announced on social media that patrons would be required to show proof of vaccination (with course completed a full 14 days before entry) or a negative COVID test that was no more than 72 hours old before entering Centeroo. This policy mirrors the one set for Lollapalooza.

Update, Aug. 16: In recent days, Live Nation and AEG — respectively the world's largest and second-largest concert promotion firms — have announced proof-of-vaccination protocols for their events and venues.

AEG, which produces big fests like Coachella and has a pair of Nashville venues in the works in the downtown Nashville Yards development, will require all staff and concert attendees to show proof of a full course of vaccination at events beginning Oct. 1. A negative test will not be accepted.

Live Nation, which produces festivals like Bonnaroo and books many large Nashville venues like Bridgestone Arena and Ascend Amphitheater, updated the policy in the Variety article linked above. The ticketing and touring giant will require all employees to be fully vaccinated by Oct. 4, and will require all attendees to provide proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test at events from that date forward.

Update, Sept. 2: As of Aug. 23, AmericanaFest has instituted a festival-wide proof-of-vax/negative-test policy that mirrors the policies adopted by many of its local venues. The last day to get a final jab with 14 days before the fest is Wednesday, Sept. 8.

Update, Sept. 10: Both Pilgrimage Music Festival and Nashville Pride have announced proof-of-vax/negative-test protocols.

Checking in With Nashville Venues That Have Implemented Vaccine Protocols
Fall Guide 2021: Doin' It Live
Three Nashville Venues Have Announced Vaccination Protocols
Six Months Into COVID-19, Nashville’s Independent Music Venues Look Ahead

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