Update 8/17/21: Grant County Health District says it’s aware of more than 230 cases linked to Watershed Music Festival.
Grant County public health officials say there are now more than 200 COVID-19 cases linked to Watershed Music Festival, the three-day country music festival that took place at the Gorge Amphitheatre in George, Grant County, about two weeks ago.
“In consultation with Washington’s local public health agencies GCHD is aware of 210 cases linked to the Watershed Musical Festival Outbreak that took place July 30-August 1,” according to an emailed update from the Grant County Health District.
“Cases have been identified among Washington State residents of King, Grant, Pierce, Skagit, Kitsap, Whatcom, Kittitas, Okanogan, San Juan, Lincoln, and Stevens counties. There has also been a case tied to a resident of Oregon State. These cases are all still under investigation,” the update says. “We urge the public to self-quarantine and seek testing if you attended the music festival.”
Grant County health officials had said Friday that more than 160 cases of COVID-19 across Washington state had been confirmed so far among people who attended Watershed.
More than 25,000 fans packed the Gorge for Watershed, which marked the state’s biggest concert, by far, since the pandemic hit more than a year ago.
Watershed festival organizers, who said some 28,000 people attended, had issued a statement Friday, saying that they had “worked to ensure all recommended guidelines from local officials were followed, and at this time less than 1% of attendees have tested positive.” Organizers urged those who attended to get tested and encouraged those who were eligible to get the vaccine.
Live Nation, which controls the Gorge, said Friday that, starting Oct. 4, it would be following the model it developed for Lollapalooza, which required proof of vaccination or a negative coronavirus test result. As of last week, health officials in Chicago, where Lollapalooza was held July 29-Aug. 1, reported 203 cases linked to the music festival, out of some 385,000 attendees.
Live Nation’s new policy, however, won’t take effect until after the Gorge’s 2021 season has closed.
At Brandi Carlile’s concert Saturday at the Gorge, which drew a crowd that the singer-songwriter had earlier estimated at 15,000, proof of vaccination or a negative coronavirus test was not required. Several signs around the venue stated “masks recommended” or asked unvaccinated people to mask up.
Several artists and festival organizers with events planned at the Gorge are instituting policies of their own. Among them are the Bass Canyon electronic music festival, set for Aug. 20-22; Phish, playing Aug. 27-29; and Dave Matthews Band, Sept. 3-5, all of which are requiring proof of vaccination or a negative coronavirus test.
Seattle Times staff reporter Michael Rietmulder contributed to this report.