CINCINNATI — On Tuesday night, fans lined up outside Riverbend Music Center waiting for doors to open to see the Dave Matthews Band. In addition to their admission ticket, fans also had to show proof they're vaccinated for COVID-19 or that they've tested negative.
For Tuesday night's concert, the requirements were put in place by the band. But starting next Monday, guests at all shows at Riverbend, ICON and the Taft Theatre will have to adhere to a similar policy.
"We've felt some criticism because of it," said Rosemarie Moehring, director of marketing at Music & Event Management Inc. "But I think the majority of people understand that this is what, you know, this is what we need to do right now to keep everyone safe."
Moerhing said the requirements are key to keeping the concert industry going for shows like the Dave Matthews Band, which drew around 12,000 to 13,000 people. As COVID-19 cases remain high, Dustin Ratliff with the Warren County Health District said folks should stay mindful that outdoor events are generally safer.
"You can't completely eliminate any risks when we're in the middle of a pandemic, but you can take steps to reduce the risk," he said.
Ratliff said personal responsibility should play a part. He recommends being vaccinated before attending any large gathering and to consider wearing a mask, even after getting the shot.
For fans who arrive at a concert without proof of vaccination or a negative test, Riverbend provided a limited supply of rapid COVID-19 tests for Dave Matthews Band fans -- to the tune of a $50 charge. The supply was also very limited, so officials said they don't want fans to rely on this service.