30A Songwriters Festival still on after COVID protocol criticisms

Published: Jan. 14, 2022 at 6:52 PM CST
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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) -The streets of 30A will be filled with music from January 14-17. As the 30A Songwriters Festival returns to an in-person setting for the first time since January of 2020.

A big thank you to ALL of our #30AFest venues getting ready to kick-off this year's festivities!! AJ's Grayton Beach |...

Posted by 30A Songwriters Festival on Thursday, January 13, 2022

“30 A songwriter festival is an amazing collection of artists across an amazing collection of venues we have restaurant bars and stage areas and artists from all across the country,” Cooper Carter, production coordinator, said.

Visit South Walton’s Communication Director Matt Algarin said in the past, the event has put millions of dollars into the local economy during the slow season.

“When you look at that money that was generated in just in direct spending in our restaurants and in our hotels and our accommodations that really factors into a $7 million impact for Walton county as a whole,” Algarin, said.

But the 2022 festival is not the same as in years past when it comes to COVID-19 protocols. According to coordinators, you must show a negative test result that was administered 72 hours prior to checking in or voluntarily providing your vaccination card.

This policy caused controversy earlier in the week. Congressman Matt Gaetz wrote a letter regarding his opinion to Governor Ron DeSantis on Monday.

But according to event coordinators, their policy was cleared with the state.

“The health board reviewed the whole thing and everything is well within guidelines from the governor’s office,” Carter said.

Congressman Matt Gaetz sent Newschannel 7 a quote on Friday regarding the event’s policy.

“Vaccinated and unvaccinated Americans should not be treated differently in our country. 19 colleagues have joined my legislation to abolish Washington, D.C.’s vaccine passports. Closer to home, we do not support subjecting the unvaccinated to additional burden at the 30A Songwriters Festival, especially given the Omicron variant’s ability to evade testing and ‘break through’ the vaccine’s protection from infection.”

Despite the health protocols, the festival is sold out for the weekend. There will be around 250 artists playing in several different venues throughout the festival.

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