The Foo Fighters got back to live performances this week, but it wasn’t without a measure of controversy in the form of a picket line outside the venue. Anti-vaccine protesters, including actor and prominent anti-vaccine mouthpeice Ricky Schroeder, showed up in California to share their displeasure with the bands choice to require vaccinations at both that night’s performance and the full-scale reopening of Madison Square Garden, scheduled for Saturday.
“Separating humans is not OK,” one protester told a reporter from KCAL while holding a sign equating vaccination requirements with a “modern segregation.” “Those of us who have healthy immune systems should be able to enjoy these freedoms just like anybody else.”
Foo Fighters were performing a warm-up show at LA’s Canyon Club, which holds approximately 600 guests – making for a remarkably intimate show for such an established band. But to get in, users had to show proof of being fully vaccinated against COVID, which is also required for New York concertgoers this weekend.
As seen in video footage of Tuesday’s demonstration, an angry mob of picketers brandished posters comparing the vaccination policy to racial segregation during the Jim Crow era and calling the Foo Fighters “farma sellouts” — presumably an alliterative play on words referencing the pharmaceutical industry.
Some hoisted signs spreading misinformation and baseless conspiracy theories about the COVID-19 vaccine. As of Wednesday morning, 56.5% of Californians had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 47.5% were fully vaccinated. In Los Angeles County, where the concert took place, about 66% of people 16 and older have had at least one vaccine dose and 56% are fully vaccinated.
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The demonstration likely foreshadows similar clashes in coming months as live events continue to expand as COVID rates fall in the United States. Some states, like New York, are strict with tying the ability for event operators to sell to their full venue capacity to the event requiring proof of vaccination. Others, are taking a more even-handed approach, leaving things up to venues to decide for themselves if they wish to require vaccination or a recent negative test for entry. And some, like Florida, are making it unlawful for event operators to screen in that fashion, treating it as if it were discriminating to do so.
Currently, Worldometers.info tracking of COVID case statistics shows the United States with a 7-day new case rate of 13,360, which is the lowest it has been since early March of 2020 (and likely far lower than the actual numbers at that time, due to the dearth of testing available). Even compared to just two months ago, the number of new cases is lower than 20 percent of what it was. Approximately 313 million doses of vaccine have already been given out, with 146 million individuals (44.6 percent of the total population, including those under the age of 12 who are not approved to be vaccinated yet) fully vaccinated.
Following Saturday’s show at MSG, Foo Fighters will be touring and appearing at several festivals over the summer, with additional dates possibly to be announced later.
Foo Fighters 2021 Dates
- June 20 – Madison Square Garden, New York
- July 28 – Icon Festival, CIncinnati
- July 30 – American Family Insurance Amphitheatre, Milwaukee
- August 1 – Lollapalooza, Chicago
- August 3 – Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre, St. Louis
- August 5 – Azura Amphitheater, Bonner Springs
- August 7 – The Zoo Amphitheatre, Oklahoma City
- August 9 – Isleta Amphitheater, Albuquerque
- September 3 – Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival, Manchester TN
- September 5 – Bottlerock Napa Valley, Napa