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Wonderbus music festival changes COVID guidelines

Elevation Group, the company that runs the festival, says the changes are due to a rise in cases and the changing music industry.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — With COVID cases on the rise, the live entertainment industry is changing. Live Nation announced this week that, starting Oct. 4 concertgoers will need to either be vaccinated or have a negative COVID test to see a concert.

The Wonderbus Music and Arts Festival is expected to attract more than 15,000 fans over the course of Aug. 28 and 29 in Columbus.

“If we don't take stronger measures to try and create a safe environment, this is going to spin out of control, that being the virus, and concerts will run into a brick wall that's a fact,” said Denny Young, President of Elevation Group.

Young says, given the rise in cases, the festival will now require proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test within 72 hours of the first day of the festival to enter without a mask. Otherwise, concertgoers will be required to wear a mask.

Young says, to enforce the rule, those who have been vaccinated or tested will be given something to wear as proof.

“We’ve increased our security detail and our police detail to move throughout the festival site to remind people that don't have the visible identification that they need to wear their face mask,” he said.

Young says most of their artists have asked for stronger protocols. This follows the moves of Live Nation and AEG to require proof of vaccination or a negative test this fall; Young says this is the future of the industry.

“If we don't band together and put together additional safety protocols, we're going to face diminishing ability to run concerts from now until this virus fades away,” he says.

Wonderbus says if patrons test positive for COVID or have symptoms, they're willing to honor 2021 tickets to Wonderbus next year.

10TV also reached out to Columbus Arena Sports and Entertainment, which deals with Nationwide Arena, Schottenstein Center, and the Ohio Stadium for concerts, to check if their policies have changed.

They say at the Schottenstein Center, there is still a mask mandate for indoor facilities, regardless of vaccination status. Nationwide Arena is following local guidelines, so masks are strongly recommended. But they say this is very fluid so things could change.