Coachella removes all COVID-19 regulations for 2022 festival


@coachella on Instagram

Sabrina Varuolo, Contributor

Coachella and Stagecoach music festivals announced on Feb. 15 they are removing all COVID-19 restrictions at their 2022 festivals, including vaccination, testing and masking. 

Coachella, split into two weekends, is set to take place from April 15-17 and April 22-24. The announcement first appeared on Coachella’s website, where they declared they would not be requiring vaccination, testing or masking at the festival. Coachella’s sister country music festival, Stagecoach, issued a statement to their Instagram regarding COVID-19 regulations for this year’s festival. 


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Stagecoach’s Instagram post reads, “As we prepare to spend an incredible weekend in the desert together we are announcing that there will be no vaccination, testing or masking requirements at Stagecoach 2022, in accordance with local guidelines.”

Coachella also announced they will only issue COVID-19 safety requirements if the virus numbers rise significantly between now and the festival.

Both Coachella and Stagecoach were canceled in 2020 and 2021, due to high COVID-19 cases. Last fall, both festivals stated that proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test result would be required for entry into the 2022 festival, but things took a turn when California’s Department of Public Health recently stated that proof of vaccination will no longer be required for large, outdoor gatherings.

As of Feb. 14, the number of COVID-19 cases in the cities surrounding the Coachella Valley stands at 15,390, with only ten reported deaths, as reported by The Desert Sun. Although many have received vaccine and booster shots, COVID-19 is hardly over. 

Coachella’s website states, “COVID-19 is an extremely contagious disease that can lead to severe illness and death….there is no guarantee, express or implied, that those attending the festival will not be exposed to COVID-19.” 

The team at the head of the two-weekend festival is aware of the risk they are taking, but they feel that current cases of the virus are low enough to hold the festival without any proof of vaccination or masks.

“I don’t think it’s right to take away all COVID-19 restrictions because the pandemic is hardly over.” University freshman Katie Madson said. “If someone were to come into the festival sick, which is very likely, they would spread the virus all over the festival and numbers would go up significantly. COVID-19 thrives off of large gatherings like Coachella.” 

Another student explained, “I think it’s a bad idea to take away any form of vaccine or negative test proof. Although numbers have dropped because of the vaccine, COVID-19 still spreads so easily,” they said. “Coachella will not be a safe event this year by any means.” 

The artists set to perform at both festivals have yet to come out with statements regarding their opinions on the mandates.

Public health experts have come out with statements against having no virus mandates at the festival. 

“Not imposing any coronavirus safety requirements is in denial of everything we’ve been through the last two years,” health expert Richard Carpiano explained. “It’s almost acting like the pandemic never happened and the virus will magically go away come April.” 

Events like Mardi Gras, happening later this year, will require vaccine proof or negative test results in order to attend, alongside mask mandates for indoor events. 

Outdoor music festivals like Treefort in Boise, Idaho, and Ultra in Miami, FL are requiring either proof of vaccination or a negative PCR test taken within 48 hours of the festivals. On the other hand, Wisconsin’s Summerfest, an outdoor festival set to take place this September, took away all COVID-19 regulations. Here in the city, this summer’s Governor’s Ball will also require proof of full vaccination against coronavirus or proof of a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of attending.

It will be interesting to see if other large events come out with statements, either dropping or requiring COVID-19 mandates.