Despite vaccinations being a fairly simple, uncomplicated method of preventing harm that has been employed for decades to keep polio, measles, diphtheria, hepatitis, and more dangerously infectious and potentially fatal illnesses from ravaging our public schools (among other places), Coachella has looked at the evidence and said, “Nah, bro, we’re all good.”
The festival equivalent of the fraternity brother who gets sent to pick up booze for the Friday night party and instead ends up doing lines on the back of a toilet seat in Vegas, Coachella, has reversed course on its mandatory vaccination requirement for the April 2022 event.
Variety reports the move to switch from its previously announced plan to require vaccination against COVID-19 comes as a surprise, for the primary reason that there’s no real sensible explanation. Tickets have been sold out for months, so it’s not like the vaccine mandate was hurting attendance.
Weirder still, the festival didn’t announce the change in policy via its main accounts on Instagram or Twitter (the latter’s most recent post, from August, still states vaccines are required for attendance). Instead, it was posted as a soon-to-vanish IG story:
After seeing first-hand the low transmission data and successful implementation of safety protocols at our other festivals this past month, we feel confident we can update our health policy to allow for:
Negative Covid-19 test taken within 72 hours of the event
Proof of full vaccination.
Even Variety calls out how weird that method of quietly announcing the shift in policy looks, noting that, “in the music world, Instagram stories are usually used by artists for insider-fan announcements, not by major concert promoters for serious health-policy updates.”
Given that coronavirus has proven nothing if not resilient, why make such a belated shift in what was apparently a wholly unproblematic and science-based decision that didn’t impact sales in the slightest? Could there possibly be some major artists performing who have refused to get the vaccine, thereby making the festival look hypocritical if it went ahead with their bookings while keeping the vaccination requirement? Cynicism, thy name is history.
Instead, by rolling the dice on negative tests, the festival is going to hope nobody contracts it while in attendance, and subsequently dies horribly when a simple vaccine shot could’ve saved their life. That’s optimistic! And after all, why not be optimistic? Surely, if nothing else, the past couple years have demonstrated that things always get better whenever we hope they will. This might sound like hectoring. It is. Get vaccinated.