Jason Isbell Talks Concert Vaccine Policy: ‘If You’re Dead, You Don’t Have Any Freedoms’

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Jason Isbell’s months-long tour is a COVIDsafe one, with ticketholders required to show proof of vaccination of a negative test to attend. Not everyone, however, is a fan of the new rules.

The country star stopped by MSNBC on Monday (Aug. 9) to discuss the trek and its safety features.

“I think the people who work at the venues and who work in the music business understand,” Isbell explained.

“From everything that I’ve heard so far, all the response I’ve gotten from people in the business has been positive because they understand that we could go back to not working at all. And a lot of these smaller venues they aren’t going to be able to reopen if they go through another round of shutdowns.”

He continued, “I think they understand. The problem is they’re just getting so much pushback from some of the governors of certain states who want to kowtow to their political base and try to make people think that their freedom is being encroached upon.”

We’re now requiring proof of vaccination or a current negative test to attend all our shows, indoors or out. If the venue won’t allow that, we won’t play. https://t.co/KSYmsT5qAl

— Jason Isbell (@JasonIsbell) August 9, 2021

As for “freedom,” he’s all for it. “But if you’re dead, you don’t have any freedoms at all. So it’s probably important to stay alive before you start questioning your liberty, you know? It’s life and then it’s liberty and then it’s the pursuit of happiness and those are in order of priority.”

The protocols shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. Isbell and his team laid it all out on social media ahead of recent shows.

“With the number of COVID-19 cases rising due to Delta variant, all attendees of this event must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or have tested negative for COVID-19 within 72 hours of attending the event(s),” reads a tweet to fans ahead of his spell at Austin City Limits.

Attn: Austin shows: https://t.co/PArklLE6RU

— Jason Isbell (@JasonIsbell) August 5, 2021

Not everyone is keen to play by the rules. Isbell has responded to a string of unhappy fans, putting out social media fires and engaging in a Twitter spat with singer and songwriter Marc Broussard, who dismissed Isbell and his regulations as being ”so bourgeois” and “elitist”.

“The unclean may not attend. The poor may not attend. The ignorant may not attend.” Who knew Jason was so bourgois? Thought he was a blue collar type of guy. Never met him so I can’t say for sure but yeah, this is some elitist ish here, fella. https://t.co/dJvP5bVDA7

— Marc Broussard (@MarcBroussard) August 6, 2021

Jason Isbell and The 400 Unit have tour dates on both sides of the Atlantic booked through November 2022.

The Alabama native’s most recent studio album, May 2020’s Reunions, peaked at No. 9 on the Billboard 200.

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