Jason Isbell Cancels Houston Show Because Venue Won’t Comply With Vaccine Policy

Jason Kempin/Getty Images

Jason Isbell Cancels Houston Show Because Venue Won’t Comply With Vaccine Policy

Jason Kempin/Getty Images

Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit are requiring proof that you’re fully vaccinated against COVID-19, or have tested negative for the virus within the past three days, in order to enter their current run of concerts. The policy has caused friction with at least one other artist, Marc Broussard, and landed Isbell on MSNBC to explain his position. (“I’m all for freedom, but if you’re dead, you don’t have any freedoms at all.”) Now Isbell has cancelled Wednesday’s scheduled show with Lucinda Williams at Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion in Houston because the venue will not institute his vaccine policy.

A tweet from Isbell’s Southeastern Records announced tonight that Wednesday’s gig is off: “Unfortunately, the venue was not willing to comply with the band’s updated Health and Safety standards.” There is some dispute about that. The venue’s own statement, signed by President and CEO Jerry MacDonald, includes this passage:

The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion fully supports and commends Jason Isbell and his team for their commitment to the health of their fans, crew, band and venue staff. We are all on the same page here and we agree with what Jason Isbell would like to implement, but there is a timing issue. To implement a major policy such as what is requested will take more time than we have.

When pressed about this on Twitter by Sally MacDonald — an anchor at Houston’s Fox 26, and also the daughter of the venue owner — Isbell replied, “The pavilion statement is false. Live Nation, the promoter, was on board but the venue owner flat-out refused to even attempt to implement the policy.” Live Nation announced last week that it would allow all artist to institute a vaccine or negative test requirement.

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