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Garth Brooks Focusing on Small Venues Over Stadiums Because ‘Dive Bars Are Vaccinated’

Garth Brooks is focusing on playing smaller club venues for the remainder of the year, rather than his typical stadium stops, in an effort to keep performances safe for fans during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

During an episode of Inside Studio G earlier this week, Brooks told viewers, “Stadiums are officially out for this year,” adding that he and his team are looking at adding performances at dive bars, because they feel the smaller venues offer a safer health environment as the COVID-19 pandemic continues — or, as Brooks put it, “dive bars are vaccinated.”

Brooks said he feels it will be easier to monitor entry protocols (including requiring attendees to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of the show).

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In 2019, the seven-time CMA entertainer of the year winner launched his stadium tour, though like other tours, it was halted last year by the surge of the COVID-19 pandemic. This summer, Brooks returned to those stadium tour stops, including shows in Las Vegas, as well as Lincoln, Neb., and Kansas City, Mo. He was set to perform at Nashville’s Nissan Stadium, though the gig was ultimately called off due to inclement weather. In August, Brooks announced the cancellation of five more stadium shows, including those that had been set for Sept. 18 in Cincinnati, Sept. 25 in Charlotte, N.C., Oct. 2 in Baltimore and Oct. 9 in Foxborough, Mass. (the Nashville date has also not been rescheduled).

At that time, Brooks issued a statement, saying, “In July, I sincerely thought the pandemic was falling behind us. Now, watching this new wave, I realize we are still in the fight and I must do my part…So, it is with a heavy heart we announce the decision to cancel all five shows but with a hopeful heart, we will reschedule and start over when this wave seems to be behind us.”

Brooks is slated to perform one of his dive bar shows at Oklahoma City’s Diamond Ballroom on Oct. 11. Tickets for the show can only be won through local radio station 93.3 Jake FM. All attendees are required to show proof of vaccination, or proof of a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of the event.

Brooks noted that plans are in the works for more dive bar stops. “We’re for sure going to do one in November and December and hopefully there will be one in between, but the dive bar tour has officially begun.”