Kanye West fans will not be required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or provide proof of a negative test to attend his next Donda event.
The 44-year-old rapper is preparing for the third listening party for his highly anticipated tenth studio album, slated for Thursday at Soldier Field in Chicago. The event, which originally expected a capacity of 63,000, will only admit 38,000 fans. Chicago Park District spokeswoman Michele Lemons said the reduced capacity emphasizes the city’s commitment to health and safety protocol amid the ongoing outbreak of the viral disease.
“Kanye West’s performance is one of many examples that show that Chicago can be open and safe at the same time,” Lemons said in a statement, The Chicago Tribune reported Thursday. “We have worked with Soldier Field on COVID-19 safety protocols, as we have other venues including Wrigley and Guaranteed Rate Fields, and feel this event can be safely held with the proper mitigation efforts in place.”
While the concert attendees will not be required to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test, restrictions for other concerts and festivals in Chicago have varied to date. Lollapalooza — which was held in the Windy City from late July to early August — required guests to show proof of vaccination or negative test results received within 72 hours of arrival.
Soldier Field, where the Donda listening event will be held, has its own COVID restrictions, and will require everyone over age 2 (regardless of vaccination status) to wear masks in indoor settings, per guidance from the CDC and local health officials. The venue notes that some fan areas — detailed on the website — are considered outdoors, which, in those cases, the PPE will be optional.
West previously held two other Donda listening parties at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. During the second event earlier this month, the venue hosted a pop-up clinic where attendees were able to get vaccinated, offering doses of the Pfizer vaccine. As of now, there’s no word if Chicago’s Soldier Field will follow suit.
Donda was originally set to drop in July 2020 before being pushed a year. The release of the new record has since been bumped week-to-week throughout August, with a drop date currently set for Friday.
Despite delays in the album release, fans of the musician know the project is incredibly personal. Donda is named after the Grammy winner’s late mother Donda West, who died at 58 following plastic surgery complications in 2007.
Ahead of the listening event, photos of Soldier Field revealed that West is also incorporating a light blue building into the set, which appears to be a replica of his childhood home, TMZ reports.
The snaps inside the stadium come shortly after the rapper posted a photo of his childhood home, located on the South Side of Chicago, on Instagram on Friday, deleting all previous photos on his account in the process. West did not caption the post, leaving his followers to speculate in the comments.
West’s third Donda listening event will kick off at 9 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 26 at Soldier Field in Chicago.