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  • Writer's pictureBig Rick Stuart

Music Festivals Are Back, But Their Covid Risks Are All on You

Make sure to read the fine print on any concert tickets this summer

In 2017, a stage diver landed on a man’s head at a punk music festival in New Jersey. That man, who experienced significant spinal damage, successfully sued the show’s organizer for $2 million.

Will we see an explosion in these types of liability lawsuits in the coming months, as music festivals come roaring back around the world, bringing an increased risk of Covid-19 cases with them?

The answer is largely not — because festivals have preempted such scenarios. New coronavirus-specific liability clauses are springing up on most large-scale festival websites that suggest you’d be wasting your time, energy, and money lawyering up if you contracted Covid-19 at a show. Take Bonnaroo’s statement, for example. While the four-day, Tennessean extravaganza planned for September says its team has “taken enhanced health and safety measures for you, our artists and employees,” festival-goers must still “follow all posted instructions” while on site, and, most importantly: “By attending Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival, you voluntarily assume all risks related to exposure to Covid-19.”

“You’re going to see this specific language pop up everywhere,” Audrey Benoualid, music attorney and partner at Myman Greenspan Fox Rosenberg Mobasser Younger & Light LLP, tells Rolling Stone. “It’s in all the agreements we’re doing just generally now.”

Language similar to Bonnaroo’s can be found on the website for San Francisco festival Outside Lands, due to take place in October. But at press time, Milwaukee competitor Summerfest and Southern California’s Coachella did not have a clause specific to Covid-19 on their websites.

stock Wix photo

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