Tanglewood won’t test audiences this summer, just artists

Tanglewood won’t test audiences this summer, just artists


norman lebrecht

June 10, 2022

From the festival management:

‘When Tanglewood opens on June 17 for a full season of music-making for the first time since 2019, visitors will not be required to show proof of vaccination or a negative test result to gain access to the festival grounds or performance spaces. In addition, masking will be optional for all those on the grounds or in the open-air Koussevitzky Music Shed.

‘In addition to these protocols for visitors to Tanglewood, proof of full vaccination and one booster dose is required for orchestra musicians, BSO staff, the Tanglewood Festival Chorus, and guest artists. ‘


  • Brian says:

    Dropping the mask requirement seems risky. Tight seating, a highly transmissible variant still spreading freely in the U.S — not a great combo for the over-65 demographic that frequents Tanglewood.

    • Anne says:

      the BSO has historically been a bit lackadaisical with covid precautions – see: this past spring’s War Requiem where covid caught on like a wildfire among the chorus and musicians.

    • DoxologyMeister says:

      Masking was optional at Tanglewood last summer too, though that was in the lull before omicron.

    • Tamino says:

      Life is dangerous and finally you die. Currently there is zero excess mortality in the US. While the virus still exists, there is no particular pandemic at the moment. Tanglewood is outdoors and semi-outdoors. If you are afraid, don’t go. Ever… anywhere where people are.

    • anon says:

      The preponderance of scientific evidence suggests that mask mandates and vaccination mandates do not lead to any statistically significant reduction in the transmission of COVID-19. Indeed, some data point towards vaccinated individuals being more likely to get COVID-19 than unvaccinated individuals. Masks are known to cause breathing problems for people, especially if worn for lengthy periods of time, and the moist environment on the inside of a mask increases significantly the risk of severe bacterial infection. For many people, especially younger or healthier people, the risk of adverse side-effects from wearing a mask for extended periods or from COVID-19 vaccination exceeds the benefit (if any) of reduced risk of harm from COVID-19. In any case, mandating vaccination is also a violation of bodily autonomy that cannot be justified even if the case for getting vaccinated were unequivocal.

      COVID-19 is an endemic infection that will never disappear completely, and which is becoming less harmful over time (due to milder variants and increased population immunity). The hygiene theatre around COVID-19 is increasingly futile and absurd, and a massive waste of resources that could be better harnessed to tackle other public health issues (such as obesity, one of the biggest risk factors for dying of many diseases, including COVID-19). Why are Americans still so obsessed with COVID-19? Here in England, we are almost entirely back to the “old normal” (although runaway inflation means that many people are encountering severe financial hardship).

  • MacroV says:

    Some relaxation might make sense, at least for the outdoor part. Sitting in the Shed or in Ozawa Hall it would seem that wearing a mask is probably wise. And vaccination rates are probably pretty high among Tanglewood attendees.

  • Richard Cheese says:

    With the amount of time that has passed since most people received their third dose, this policy seems a little reckless. Why only one booster required when we know the second booster produces a robust antibody response? Seems the BSO is putting profits above lives.