Country singers Chase Rice and Chris Janson are facing a backlash after holding a packed concert to a reported thousands in Tennessee over the weekend, where photos and videos show revelers standing shoulder to shoulder without face masks.
Chase Rice posted footage from the stage of his concert in Tennessee under the caption: “We back.” The video clips were available throughout Sunday on his Instagram story, despite critical reaction across social media.
Country Singers Chase Rice and Chris Janson Slammed for Holding Packed Concerts, No Visible Masks on Crowd pic.twitter.com/ctcMAPKf9y
— Melissa Knowles (@Knowlesitall) June 29, 2020
Janson, meanwhile, similarly posted footage of a smaller but equally packed-out event in Idaho but later deleted the videos from both his Twitter and Instagram following a number of angry responses.
this is really not good. musicians, & their managers, & venues (& promotors….all the way down the line) have a huge responsibility to the common good RIGHT NOW to not make a bad situation worse.
the arts should be leading culture, not endangering it. https://t.co/z8kgqK7NBu
— Amanda Palmer (@amandapalmer) June 29, 2020
One of Rice’s critics was fellow country star Kelsea Ballerini, who described the decision to hold a concert in such circumstances as selfish.
“Imagine being selfish enough to put thousands of people’s health at risk, not to mention the potential ripple effect, and play a NORMAL country concert right now,” Ballerini wrote. “@ChaseRiceMusic, we all want (and need) to tour. We just care about our fans and their families enough to wait.”
Imagine being selfish enough to put thousands of people’s health at risk, not to mention the potential ripple effect, and play a NORMAL country concert right now. @ChaseRiceMusic, We all want (and need) to tour. We just care about our fans and their families enough to wait. 🏼♀️ https://t.co/eJaLnGu28k
— Kelsea Ballerini (@KelseaBallerini) June 28, 2020
In a statement provided to Variety, Brian May, the VP of the Brushy Mountain Group that hosted Rice’s concert, insisted that “all local requirements were abided by for the recent concert, and numerous precautions were taken.”
“We drastically reduced our maximum venue capacity of 10,000 to 4,000 maximum capacity (lower than the state’s advisement of 50%) with less than 1,000 in attendance Saturday night, providing ample space in the outdoor lawn area for fans to spread out to their own comfort level,” May said.
All guests were given temperature checks prior to entering the venue and free hand sanitizer was provided to everyone at entry. All vendors and staff were advised to wear masks and gloves when interacting with guests, and bandanas were available for purchase on-site.
We were unable to further enforce the physical distancing recommended in the signage posted across the property and are looking into future alternative scenarios that further protect the attendees, artists and their crews and our employees. We are reevaluating the series from the top to bottom — from implementing further safety measures, to adding stanchions, to converting the space to drive-in style concerts, to postponing shows.
Rice has previously made public his opposition to lockdown rules imposed in response to the pandemic. “I’m not throwing blame to any promoters or decision-makers on this, they gotta protect themselves and the well being of people, so I get all sides of this deal,” he sad back in March. “I personally choose not [to] live scared, especially of something that I can’t really control.”
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If it were up to me I wouldn’t cancel one damn show, but it ain’t. Today a lot of tours and shows got canceled or moved. I’m not throwing blame to any promoters or decision makers on this, they gotta protect themselves and the well being of people, so I get all sides of this deal. I personally, choose not live scared, especially of something that I can’t really control, so 🖕🏼YOU Corona(not the beer, I still love you). And mostly THANK YOU to fans all across the world. This thing has made me realize that there is no music without y’all. If I’ve gotta break it down to just me and a guitar on the bed of a truck and play to whoever shows up I’ll do it, love y’all.
With his promoters insisting that the event was fully compliant with the rules, Rice has more events schelduled over the next few weeks, including at least two indoor concerts in Kentucky and Virginia.