Over the weekend, country singer Chase Rice came under fire after a video from his Saturday concert in Tennessee showed hundreds of mask-less concert-goers packed in front of the stage and singing along amid a statewide spike in new coronavirus cases.
On Monday afternoon, Rice posted a video to his social media accounts in which he addressed the controversial show. As Rice notes in the clip, “For those of you who don’t know, I had a show in east Tennessee, took a video of the concert, everybody had a blast. But then, once I posted the video, a lot of people seeing that online had a big problem with how the show looked, how the show went down.”
He adds, “I understand there’s a lot of different opinions on COVID-19, how it works with live music, crowds, and what all that looks like. My biggest thing is y’all. Y’all are why I get to write songs, y’all are why I get to tour the country, why I get to do live shows and sing these songs to you guys and you guys sing ’em back. You guys are everything to me, so your safety is a huge, huge priority.”
“Moving forward,” Rice continues, “I have a show in Ashland, KY on Friday, and it’s a drive-in show. You can take your trucks, take your cars, you have your own space. You can get out of your cars, get out of your trucks and party with me—please do sing the songs—but stay in your own space, stay with the people you came with.”
“The biggest thing for all of us,” he concludes, is, “the safer we are now, the quicker that we get to get to actual, normal live shows, which I know we all want. So, thank you guys for understanding. Please go by the rules, please go by the laws on this Friday show coming up, and the show is moving forward so we can get to regular shows soon enough. Love you guys, God bless you, and God bless country music.” Watch the clip below:
Chase Rice Addresses Controversial Concert
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According to a statement by Brian May, vice president of the Brushy Mountain Group, where the controversial Saturday night concert took place, “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 (954 tickets sold with 809 tickets scanned) in attendance Saturday night providing ample space in the outdoor lawn area for fans to spread out to their own comfort level. All guests were given temperature checks prior to entering the venue and free hand sanitizer was provided to everyone at entry.”
Despite all this, the video shows what can only be described as a crowded area in front of the stage, with Rice encouraging the unmasked crowd to sing along. Even May admitted in his statement that his team was “unable to further enforce the physical distancing recommended in the signage posted across the property” and will continue “looking into future alternative scenarios that further protect the attendees, artists and their crews and our employees.”
Rice’s upcoming tour dates should prove to be less problematic, as they are predominantly scheduled at drive-in venues where strict social distancing measures will be enforced.
TMZ noted that they spoke to the promoters and venues for various scheduled stops on the ongoing, mid-pandemic Chase Rice tour and that venues are taking extra precautions to avoid a PR nightmare similar to the one posed by Saturday’s show in Tennessee.
Some venues, however, are already starting to hedge their bets. The Starlight Theatre in Butler, PA, where Chase Rice is scheduled to perform a concert on August 16th, has added a new disclaimer for ticket buyers:
NOTICE FOR ALL BUYERS – By attending this event, you and any guests voluntarily assume all risks related to exposure to COVID-19 and agree not to hold any presenting entities, artists, and the venue; or any of their affiliates, directors, officers, employees, agents, contractors, or volunteers liable for any illness or injury.
In addition, TMZ reported that Chase Rice previously had a pair of shows at Georgia’s Tiger Drive-In in the works for the weekend of July 25th but the plans have been scrapped completely after the show’s promoter decided there was “too much controversy” surrounding the tour.
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