Chase Rice returned to the stage for the first time since the coronavirus outbreak forced the cancellation live shows on Saturday (June 27) with a show at Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary in Petros, Tennessee.
The former prison turned concert venue hosted 1,000 fans to see the “Eyes On You” singer perform live. As the news of the show hit social media, some people became outraged at the fact that Rice would host a concert amid the current spike in COVID-19 cases across many parts of the country.
While venue officials say they followed all local guidelines, many are concerned that Rice and the event organizers put fans at risk at the mass gathering.
“All local requirements were abided by for the recent concert, and numerous precautions were taken,” a representative from The Brushy Mountain Group told TMZ. “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.”
The company’s statement also read: “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.”
According to social media posts from Rice and several concertgoers, it appears that no one followed social distanced guidelines and masks were nowhere to be seen.
Several people took to Twitter to voice their concerns over the show, including country superstar Kelsea Ballerini, who directly called out Chase Rice for putting others at risk.
“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,” she wrote.
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
A few other country artists chimed in, including Avenue Beat and Mickey Guyton.
“Preaaaach sisssss,” wrote the trio, while Guyton said, “An absolute selfish act. Shame on him.”
Guyton later shared the video and wrote, “This is happening in Tennessee where cases are spiking y’all. Jesus help us.”
Her tweet caught the attention of Maren Morris, who responded, “no masks,” alongside the exploding head emoji and the pensive face emoji.
This is happening in Tennessee where cases are spiking y’all. Jesus help us. https://t.co/f5i34rz4gW
— Mickey Guyton (@MickeyGuyton) June 28, 2020
Stunned that TN allowed a live concert hosting chase rice In a feild packed with maskless folks. Wtf? pic.twitter.com/qH0hBQRwML
— solace (@soujornsolace) June 28, 2020
So will Chase Rice be held responsible for the spike of cases in TN in the next week after the jam-packed concert he had last night with no social distancing rules enforced?
— Lexi (@_Lexi517) June 28, 2020
— Ricky Valero (@rickyvalero_) June 28, 2020
Rice, who has additional concerts planned in the coming weeks, isn’t the only country star to return to the road. Chris Janson reportedly performed in Idaho on Saturday night, while Granger Smith made his return to the stage with a concert in Texas earlier this month.
Jimmie Allen performed his first “social distance” show this weekend as well, however, attendees at his show were asked to stay in their cars to watch.
“Played our first show last night since March 11. First-ever “social distance” show. Not gonna lie it was weird at first,” he admitted. “I got tired so I sat down and talked to the crowd for the while. I was totally out of “show” shape but it felt great to play again. Oh yeah…..I hate that phrase ‘social distance.'”
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Played our first show last night since March 11. First ever “social distance” show. Not gonna lie it was weird at first. I got tired so I sat down and talked to the crowd for the while. I was totally out of “show” shape but it felt great to play again. Oh yeah…..I hate that phrase “social distance”😂😂🤷🏽♂️ . 📸 @sam_thecameraman
The COVID-19 pandemic has drastically impacted the live music scene. Artists are slowly trying to test the waters with ways to continue to bring live music to fans with virtual concerts, drive-in shows and more.
Garth Brooks hosted a massive drive-in concert on Saturday, with a live concert airing at over 300 drive-in theaters around the United States.
As of Sunday evening (June 28), more than 2.6 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19. More than 1 million have recovered and over 128,000 have died.