It wasn’t that long ago when all live events and concerts disappeared before our eyes. Slowly but surely, they started coming back - but not without concert-goers digging a card out of their wallet or opening up a clunky app to prove that they had received the Covid 19 vaccine. 

Finally, last summer, things seemed to start returning to normal. Occasionally, proof of vaccination was still required to attend an event (last year’s John Mulaney show at Key Bank Center, for example), but for the most part, events were open and available to anyone who wanted to go.

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The majority of establishments don’t even require masks to enter anymore. It almost seems like the pandemic never happened - except for the fact that Covid 19 is still out there and still getting Western New Yorkers very sick.

What does that mean for the many hyped-up concerts coming to Western New York this summer? Will we have to find our vaccine cards (or get a new one) in order to see our favorite band or artist?

Huge stars like Drake, Luke Bryan, Dave Matthews Band, and more are set to grace our area stages this summer, and if you’re looking forward to winter being over so you can go see them, you’ll want to know whether or not you’ll need proof of vaccination or not.

Here are some of the major concert venues around Western New York and where they currently stand with their vaccine policies.

Darien Lake Performing Arts Center

In June of 2021, Live Nation removed a notice on Darien Lake’s ticket page that proof of vaccination would be required to enter the venue, and the notice has yet to return. 

Key Bank Center 

The KeyBank Center website states, “In accordance with New York State and Erie County guidelines, KeyBank Center will no longer require proof of vaccination into all events, concerts and live sporting events, including home games for the Buffalo Sabres and Buffalo Bandits.”

However, the venue cautions that individual concerts and live events may choose to implement their own policies and require proof of vaccination, so be sure to check the event page before you purchase tickets. 

Highmark Stadium

In March of 2022, Highmark Stadium released a statement announcing that proof of vaccination is no longer required at Bills games, concerts, and other live events. Just like KeyBank Center, individual events may have different requirements, so it’s essential to check before you go. 


According to Artpark’s website, “proof of COVID-19 vaccination or negative test is no longer required to attend events at Artpark effective March 9, 2022. Masks are also not required…Any event-specific protocols as a result of any changes or due to artist or promoter requests will be posted on our website in the event listing and communicated to patrons.”


CMAC will be open to all patrons this summer, and “proof of vaccination and/or a negative Covid-19 test will no longer be required for admission.

Shea’s Performing Arts Center

As of November 2022, masking and proof of vaccination are not required to attend an event at any of their venues.  

Even though it doesn’t look like many (if any) venues are going to make you whip out a vaccine card to see a concert this summer, it’s still important to keep in mind that Covid is still out there, and plenty of people are still getting sick from it. 

Wear a mask inside the venue if it makes you more comfortable, and if you were exposed to Covid 19, are showing symptoms, or have tested positive recently before the show, the responsible thing to do is to sit it out and stay home. Even though it may be disappointing to miss a concert you’ve been looking forward to, we still need to look out for the health and well-being of others.

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