SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) — Prize Fest is the first major event in Northwest Louisiana to require proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test to attend. Other local events are following suit.
“There are so many people in hospitals right now, there are so many people who are sick, and it’s really hard to come be a part of things and be safe,” said Casey Jones, Marketing Director of the Shreveport Regional Arts Council.
“So we really felt that we could ensure safety of the staff the artists and the community.”
“Because so many people come to the openings at once, and they’re kind of indoors and packed in there, we really want you to be vaccinated for the sake of our artists and for the sake of the other people enjoying the event around you.”
Prize Fest staff are trained to handle the verification process for negative tests and vaccination cards.
“Several of our staff members here are COVID compliance officers trained out of California,” said Chris Lyon, filmmaker liaison for Prize Fest.
“What it’s going to come down to is making sure that our volunteers both have the information, the training, and the authority to ensure that every attendee is safe. And we are partnering with a clinic here in town who can help us verify any cards that may appear fraudulent. And any card that is determined to be fraudulent will be handed over to the FBI.”
Prize Fest and Artspace officials hope other local organizations do the same.
“We certainly do hope that we are setting a precedent and we have offered area festivals consultations on how they can make their festivals as safe as possible too, just through the learning process that we’ve gone through over the last five weeks,” Lyons said.
“We’re prepared not only to do the event ourselves, but to help anyone that might want to do their own event. No matter how many people come, whether it’s 1,000 or 5,000, we will be prepared with the safety protocols needed to make sure it’s a safe event.”