Garth Brooks discusses his decision to halt his Stadium Tour but go forward with a dive bar tour, amid the coronavirus pandemic.
On Monday's episode of his Facebook series Inside Studio G, he reminded fans, "Stadiums are officially out for this year." He went on to clarify why dive bars are OK when stadiums aren't, explaining it's because it's easier for the small venues to implement vaccination policies.
"The dive bars are vaccinated!" Brooks said. "That's how you get to do it."
Attendees of shows — the next one is Oct. 11 in Oklahoma City — must be fully vaccinated 14 days prior. Alternatively, they can provide proof of a negative PCR COVID-19 test within 72 hours prior to the event, or proof of a negative antigen test within 6 hours prior to the event.
"I know that people are saying they're doing this at the NFL games," Brooks said of big stadium events. "Great for them. I just can't imagine how you pull all that together."
He continued, "Like we said a month ago, we'll watch — watch how college football is doing, professional football. We'll learn from CLEAR" and similar companies with vaccine passes. "And also watch the numbers. What's going on out there with our children in our schools. With people out and about. Seeing what's going on."
Brooks launched his Stadium Tour in 2019 and then paused when the pandemic hit in early 2020. It picked up again in July and there were four shows before he halted it again, citing COVID. Tentatively, it will resume in 2022.
"The thing that scares me that you have to look it is: I never saw the second wave coming, right," he said. "I didn't know there was going to be such a thing. Well, is there a third wave? So you just watch this."
He continued, "What you want to do is what's best for the people. Man, I want to play music. I want to get out there and laugh. I'm telling you the look in people's eyes from stage — from getting together singing again — brought so much hope and so much joy. It killed me to have to shut it down again. But you want to do what is best for the people that are sweet enough to come and see you."
He concluded, "That's why dive bars instead of stadiums."
Brooks said his team is working to book gigs in dive bars in cities where stadium shows were canceled. For his Oct. 11 show, 500,000 fans registered in just one week to win one of the 700 tickets. (Tickets are only available by winning them through a local country radio station.)
"The Dive bar tour has officially begun," he said, "and holy cow what a way to start. Very sweet."
He said additional shows at small venues be added to the calendar in upcoming weeks. And he also talked about why he loves playing at small venues.
"All I know is [my directive is]: 'G, show up, play, have a fun time," he said. "The dive bars are crazy. You remember showing up [but] I don't remember anything during the dive bar [shows]. It's just nuts — and it never slows down... It's just foot to the pedal. Just all the way to the floor. From when you start to when you finish. So much fun. I'm so looking forward to this."
When Garth announced he was halting his stadium tour in August, he explained on his same show, "I'm vaccinated, 100% vaccinated. Everybody on the freakin' tour, vaccinated. I cannot make you get vaccinated. Until it becomes a law, it is a choice. And people, when things are a choice, you have to understand and respect that we're all going to make our own choices."