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The biggest and loudest church party in town is hoping to also be one of the safest against COVID-19.

Organizers of the Basilica Block Party announced Friday a change in policy requiring all attendees to show a proof of COVID vaccination or negative test results to get into the Sept. 10-11 music festival in downtown Minneapolis. Masks will not be required "but are strongly encouraged," according to the festival's announcement.

"This policy has been implemented in order to create the safest possible environment for the community, and to protect the vulnerable," organizers said in a provided statement.

Further details about the new policy were posted at The festival's holy host, the historic Basilica of St. Mary, has been asking worshipers and other church-event attendees to wear masks when inside but is not requiring proof of vaccine at its masses.

In its 25th year — not counting last year's cancellation — the Basilica party now becomes the biggest live music event in Minnesota to announce a vaccine/test requirement. Other area festivals have mostly avoided such a policy, including this weekend's Winstock country music marathon in Winsted. The exception is Eau Claire's Blue Ox Music Fest, which changed to vaccine requirements this weekend at headliner Jason Isbell's insistence.

The Basilica Block Party's promoter, Live Nation, successfully implemented a similar policy at the Lollapalooza mega-fest in Chicago three weekends ago and is also enforcing a vaccine/test requirement at all its indoor venues, including the Fillmore and Varsity Theater in Minneapolis. However, Live Nation has not implemented this policy at Monday's Hella Mega Tour date at Target Field with Green Day, Weezer and Fall Out Boy.

This year's Basilica lineup is split into a poppier and younger schedule with AJR, Motion City Soundtrack and Tate McCrae on the Friday night lineup, followed by a more hipster-y schedule that Saturday with the Avett Brothers, Spoon and Black Pumas.

Ticketholders who cannot or will not meet the new COVID policies can get a refund via, but they have to do so by Aug. 31. Conversely, a similar refund policy is in place for grandstand concerts at the Minnesota State Fair for ticketholders who don't like the fair's newly announced COVID protocols, or lack thereof.

Chris Riemenschneider • 612-673-4658