DAVENPORT, Iowa — The Raccoon Motel music venue in downtown Davenport says they're keeping Covid protocols as fluid as possible, by having each night's artist decide what to enforce. Everything from vaccination requirements to negative Covid tests, even mask mandates, will be up to what each show's act wants.
"It's the bands deciding, you know, who can buy a ticket to their show," said Raccoon Motel Co-Owner John McDermott. "There's no hard line, no definitive we're absolutely this or absolutely that. It's a fluid situation."
McDermott says he didn't want to take a strict stance on vaccination requirements, as several big-name festivals, including Lollapalooza, have done. Instead, the move was made after several incoming bands requested the venue require proof of vaccination.
"It really wasn't our decision to make, it was primarily that we're getting these requests. And if we can't meet those requests, then the band or artists or community would say, 'Sorry, I just don't feel comfortable performing here,'" said McDermott. "And in that case, the decision would have been made for us anyways."
He says it's about balancing what's best for the individual acts, while also being as inclusive as possible, and keeping the lights on.
"If they're not comfortable, they don't perform, there's no show anyways. Frankly, we want to make sure that they're comfortable to continue coming back during Covid, after Covid and everything," he said.
While the concert hall itself will be up to the artist's discretion, McDermott says Raccoon Motel's bar will continue to follow state and local guidelines. Currently there are no mandates in Scott County, so McDermott says there are none for the bar area, regardless of what the artist has requested inside the venue.
Ultimately, McDermott says it's about staying flexible, in order to stay open.
"We're not going to make everyone happy. You can't make everyone happy. But we're just trying to keep as many good acts and quality acts coming this way."
He says the best way to keep up-to-date on what future shows will be requiring is through Raccoon Motel's Facebook page. If you are unhappy with the protocols of a show you've already purchased tickets for, McDermott says the venue will immediately refund you.