On Tuesday, Feb. 15, Coachella and Stagecoach dropped all of their COVID-19 guidelines, which means the festivals will no longer require masks, a proof of vaccination or a negative test result.
Stagecoach posted a tweet saying the festival will no longer need proof of vaccination, testing or masking at Stagecoach 2022, in order to follow local guidelines.
“I feel like that's probably a pretty horrible decision seeing that Omicron is really kind of spiraling right now,” Caroline Hina, a sophomore studying history, said. “I think that we know everyone wants to get back to normal because the pandemic’s been happening for so long and everyone feels like they want to be over it, but it's still a thing that's happening. People are still dying from it, and it just seems very ill advised.”
Updating its COVID-19 policies to reflect local guidelines, the Coachella website said that “There is an inherent and elevated risk of exposure to COVID-19 any public place or place where people are present and there is no guarantee, express or implied, that those attending the festival will not be exposed to COVID-19.”
Coachella’s safety page also had an update, saying, “In accordance with local guidelines, there will be no vaccination, testing or masking requirements at Coachella 2022.”
The new health updates to the two festivals has caused different reactions from a variety of people on Ohio University’s campus, leading many to question the safety of the festivals scaling back on COVID-19 guidelines.
“I feel like from a public standpoint, it's not a good idea at all, especially in large music settings like that,” Mikayla Turner, a junior studying integrated social studies, said. “I feel like you're going to see a mass amount of spread, especially with not having to be vaccinated or proof that you're vaccinated. I feel like for many people that often is an extra safety net for them and makes them more comfortable without wearing a mask. But without that, I feel like you're really opening the door for there to just be a lot of spread.”
Those involved with the festivals said that these safety measures can change at any time based on federal or local mandates, or artist or promoter instructions. The changes they said could be executed through instilling limited capacity or vaccine requirements.
For Stagecoach, the ruling may have been a result of trying to pacify their audience, which is targeted towards country-music lovers, who from a demographic standpoint, lean more conservative, said an article from NBC.
Coachella is scheduled for two weekends in April, April 15-17 and April 22-24, with headliners Billie Eilish, Harry Styles and Ye (Kanye West) in Indio, Calif.
Meanwhile, the headliners for Stagecoach include Luke Combs, Carrie Underwood and Thomas Rhett, taking place from April 29 to May 1.
Now, music fans everywhere now must be aware of the choices they make in regards to attending Coachella or Stagecoach.
“Since no one's forcing you to go and it's purely your choice, you need to be willing to accept responsibility and the fact that you could get it (coronavirus),” Cody Dohrman, a freshman studying mechanical engineering, said. “If you feel unsafe, you should mask and make sure you're vaccinated.”