Matt Gaetz Wants Florida Music Fest Stopped, Cites ‘Vaccine Passports’ « CmaTrends


Republican congressman Matt Gaetz desires to cease the music this weekend in Florida, on the subject of the 30A Songwriters Festival, an annual gathering that he contends is appearing as a scofflaw on the subject of COVID restrictions — by having any in any respect.

Gaetz has written an open letter to Florida governor Ron De Santis over what the congressman says is “the illegal implementation of vaccine passports” on the competition, asking him to “inform the Walton County Tourist Development Council of the ramifications if they proceed in funding the 30A Songwriters Festival under these unlawful conditions.”

But 30A organizers inform Variety they aren’t imposing any extra onerous restrictions than probably the most primary ones taking place at nearly each different live performance within the space, and that these hardly represent the so-called “vaccine passport” that has develop into a bogeyman of the best.

Rep. Gaetz “did not verify anything with us” earlier than issuing a press launch, says Russell Carter, who co- produces the 30A Songwriters Festival with Jennifer Steele for the CAA. “He just ranted about Vaccine Passports, which we do not nor ever have advocated or required.”

30A, scheduled for Friday by Sunday, is because of characteristic singer-songwriters like Emmylou Harris, Jenny Lewis, Dawes, Patty Griffin, Rickie Lee Jones, Allison Moorer, Mavis Staples, Hayes Carll and dozens extra acquainted to the folk-rock or Americana communities.

Carter maintains that the competition coverage, which is to require proof of vaccination or a latest unfavorable COVID-18 take a look at for attendees, is effectively consistent with Florida legislation. Gov. DeSantis, who’s like-minded with Gaetz in being towards nearly all COVID-related restrictions, did log out final spring on a invoice making it unlawful to require vaccine proof as a requirement to enter a enterprise. But in Florida and the opposite 19 Republican-governed states the place such legal guidelines have been handed, live performance and stay theater promoters have typically been understood to be within the clear so long as their main requirement is a unfavorable take a look at, with proof of vaccination being a method of opting out of the take a look at mandate.

Nonetheless, Gaetz alleges in his open letter that “vaccine passports should not be funded by Florida taxpayers,” and that what 30A requires for admission is “a blatant violation of Executive Order 21-81, ‘Prohibiting COVID-19 Vaccine Passports.’ … Your executive order allows entities to engage in COVID-19 screening, generally, but does not permit different treatment for the vaccinated and unvaccinated.”

30A’s place is that the unvaccinated are equally as welcome on the competition because the vaccinated, so long as they will present a unfavorable take a look at from throughout the earlier 72 hours, one thing that DeSantis’ workplace has signaled an OK on previously.

“Rep. Gaetz is no stranger to the 30A Songwriters Festival,” Carter says. “He represents Walton County where the Festival is produced every MLK holiday weekend in January. His office has on many occasions contacted the festival requesting complimentary tickets, and he has attended the Festival at least twice in recent years. Prior to sending and publishing a letter to Gov. DeSantis, he easily could have called us to clarify what our policy is or researched it by going to our website to verify there is in fact no Vaccine Passport. Instead he quite simply misrepresented the facts in an irresponsible manner.”

Carter quoted the competition’s printed language: “All Festival Patrons MUST present a negative COVID test (within the previous 72 hours), along with a valid government-issued photo ID, to receive a 30A SONGWRITERS FESTIVAL wristband. (Note: Festival Patrons may choose to present proof of full vaccination in lieu of a negative test).”

The producer went on to say the governor’s workplace had signed off on that language, and to cite the governor’s press secretary, Christina Pushaw, as saying: “SB 2006 only prohibits businesses from requiring proof of vaccination from customers as a condition of entry or service. If concert-goers can provide a negative COVID test instead of a vaccine passport, that is acceptable under the law. People who want to show proof of vaccination instead of a COVID test are free to do that. It just cannot be compelled.”

Added Carter: “Our festival is a benefit for the non-profit Cultural Arts Alliance of Walton County. The festival raises hundreds of thousands of dollars each year for the arts group. It also generates over $8 million in revenue to the resorts, hotels, bars, restaurants, rental home companies and other small businesses throughout the county. … We bring ‘hooks, lines, and singers’ to 30A. The music begins begins Friday at 4 p.m. — come join us.”

Variety was not instantly in a position to attain Gaetz’s reps for remark.





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