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— As live performances emerge during the coronavirus pandemic, concert venues and even performers are stepping up COVID-19 protocols.

On Tuesday night, Red Hat Amphitheatre offered rapid coronavirus tests before guests entered the downtown Raleigh venue. The band Judas Priest requested fans test within 72 hours of the event or show full vaccination status against COVID-19.

“It’s really good to get out and enjoy live music again,” said concertgoer Anne Childress.

Fans, like Childress, said there were anxious to enter the music venue for live entertainment. But, before entering, guests had to provide proof of vaccination or negative tests results.

Concertgoer Korey Johnson said he forgot to bring his vaccination card with him to the event. But for about $40, he was able to take advantage of rapid COVID-19 antigen testing on site.

“It’s good because you never know when you happen to get sick on your way here,” said Johnson.

Guests pre-register online or can sign up on-site through a QR code. An attendant will then provide an individual with a test to give to a COVID-19 screener. After completing a nose swab, people wait around 10 minutes for the results.

“If it’s positive, then of course, you’ll get a refund for your ticket. You cannot have entrance,” said Latia Johnson, who helped conduct the rapid testing at Tuesday’s event.

Dr. Scott Shane, the director of the state Public Health Laboratory, said rapid antigen tests are effective, but people should be cautious.

“[They’re] most effective when used on people with symptoms. That’s when their sensitivity is highest,” explained Shane. “If you are symptomatic and you test negative on these rapid test, you need to pursue additional testing, not only to see if it was a false negative, but because you could be infected with another virus.”

Triangle concert goers head to shows knowing the dangers of COVID

The U.S. Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention and health care experts said PCR tests are considered the gold standard. Results are produced in a lab and take longer, either several hours or days, depending on demand, but most accurate.

Maroon 5 will be performing at Coastal Federal Credit Union Amphitheater at Walnut Creek on Wednesday with similar safety protocols in place.

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