Hoyt Sherman Place responds to rock band’s refusal to play due to Iowa’s vaccine mandate stance

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DES MOINES, Iowa — As the delta variant continues to sweep across the country and in Iowa, rock band Spoon requested Hoyt Sherman Place and CEO Robert Warren require attendees to provide proof of vaccine. “Personally I think a mandatory mask mandate is easier to enforce. It is very visible and offers the same level of protection and you can ask everybody to put a mask on,” said Warren.

On Friday, when Hoyt Sherman Place could not meet those demands, Spoon canceled their September show, posting on Facebook, “Due to Iowa’s limitations of vaccine mandates we’re regrettably canceling our Sept 9th Des Moines show. We’re replacing that gig with a show at the Slowdown in Omaha, NE on the same date.”

Warren said, “That’s our first cancelation. We did have a bunch of successful events in June and July including a sold out show last Saturday night.”

In May, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds signed a bill into law that punishes businesses that mandate vaccine passports by denying them state grants, which Hoyt Sherman Place has applied for and received. Warren said, “It’s a little after the fact because we’ve already been awarded rescue money through the state and the federal government.”

To enhance safety in 2020, Hoyt Sherman Place made sure the stage and audience were on separate air systems. Fans blow towards the audience and there is more than six feet of distance between the stage and the front row. “All of our crew volunteers and even our hired stage hands have to show proof of vaccination,” said Warren.

Despite the governor’s punishment, on Aug. 12, jazz club Noce in Des Moines took to Facebook to announce they will require proof of vaccination. Owner Max Wellman said, “If you are unwilling or unable to get the vaccine then as an alternative you can provide a negative test result within 48 hours of the show you are attending.”

Warren is used to booking talent but now finds himself in a balancing act between safety and crowd pleasing entertainment which could change day to day if the law allows. Warren said, “If they change the rules and it becomes a mandatory ID check, we will figure out a way to make it happen.”

Warren says refunds are already being processed for fans who purchased a ticket through Ticketmaster. If you paid directly through the Hoyt Sherman Place box office, you can get your refund there.

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