SEATTLE - While King County is days away from starting a new outdoor mask mandate at all large events, an outdoor music festival in Seattle is preparing to host thousands of fans this weekend. Day In Day Out Fest will not require attendees to wear masks despite health officials strongly encouraging everyone vaccinated or not to mask up at gatherings.
"It’s just not feasible for us to mandate it at this point. We’d have to hire so many more security guards and all these things. It’s a tough thing to do for an event of this size," said Evan Johnson, program director. "It comes at such a short notice that it was kind of difficult for any event producer, especially an event producer of our size, to mandate that for everybody. This came at a couple days notice and it doesn’t kick in until next week. So, we’re encouraging everyone to do what they feel they need to do to stay safe."
The two-day event will be at Fisher Green Pavilion of the Seattle Center. The show is produced by Daydream State, known for its annual Capitol Hill Block Party.
Famous rapper and Portland native Amine announced the cancelation of his performance at the music festival because he tested positive for COVID-19 and was vaccinated. More case numbers are surging in cities across Washington. Still, festival coordinators said the show must go on.
"Music is life for us. It’s such a luxury, such a pleasure thing that we can do. But, the number one priority is always health. And we wouldn’t be going through with the event if we felt that it was unsafe to do so," said Johnson.
Friday, crews set up for the weekend event that could see as many as 4,000 fans at Fisher Green Pavilion. Event staff members move forward just one day after Public Health-Seattle & King County issued a new outdoor mask mandate for any event with 500 people or more starting September 7.
Johnson said though they have always encouraged face coverings, they won’t be requiring them. As part of their COVID safety measures, hand-sanitizing stations are posted throughout the space that has a capacity of about 8,000 people. Johnson said they are limiting guests to 50 percent capacity to help maintain social distance.
"All attendees, artists, crew members, everyone that’s part of the festival is going to be required to show either proof of vaccination or negative test results within 48 hours," said Johnson.
Event coordinators further explained guests will go through a checkpoint to confirm their vaccination card or negative COVID tests. Anyone who doesn’t have the required items will get turned away. Guest will then go through a security bag check before heading to the stage.
Representatives with the health department said they don’t discourage attending the festival, but are urging people to keep their mask on since there will be lots of singing and shouting. In a written statement, officials said, "With the Delta variant surging and a high level of COVID-19 transmission in our community, it’s important for all people to assess their personal risk level before attending large events. This is particularly important for those who are unvaccinated, live with household members who are unvaccinated, or people who are immunocompromised."
Day In Day Out will be the city’s first large music festival since pre-pandemic. Johnson said he they are working with security guards and health counselors to assist with COVID-19 protocols and ensure a safe experience.
"I also hope that people are able to leave this experience feeling some renewed sense of life and renewed sense of excitement about live music being back and being able to go out in Seattle in summer time. And have a good time with your friends because I think that’s something that we have been deprived of for a year and a half now," said Johnson.
Tickets, performance schedules, safety protocols and additional information are available on the festival website.