While he opted to wipe the slate clean on his planned Stadium Tour this fall, Garth Brooks doesn’t appear to have given up on performing in front of audiences in 2021. But instead of massive crowds at NFL or college football venues, he appears to be planning a number of intimate “dive bar” dates, allowing for a safer crowd experience amid COVID-19.
During an appearance on his Facebook series Inside Studio G, Brooks confirmed that “stadiums are officially out for this year,” but that he would perform at smaller venues (which he generally refers to as “dive bar” stops, though they are usually actually just smaller club spaces rather than actual dive bars). The rationale is because “dive bars are vaccinated.”
Brooks was one of the first major acts to get back to touring when live events began coming back in 2021, telling other artists to get back in the game from the stage at one of his first Stadium Tour dates after resuming. But as the Delta variant began to drive case numbers higher, he paused sales on fall dates, then decided to cancel them entirely, wiping out five shows in Massachusetts, North Carolina, Maryland, Ohio, and Tennessee.
“In July, I sincerely thought the pandemic was falling behind us,” he said at the time of the Stadium Tour shows being called off. “Now watching this new wave, I realize we are still in the fight and I must do my part.”
Plans are in the works for Dive Bar tour dates to take place in cities where Stadium Tour shows were called off, but specific plans have not been announced. Brooks and his team anticipate requiring that anyone who attends any upcoming show will show proof of vaccination or proof of a recent negative COVID test as a requirement for entry.
“My wish is… we do everything safe so [fans] can enjoy [the show] and not sit in the stands and be scared,” he said. “We’re all coming down from this at our own speed. I hope people can come and let it all go.”