Chase Rice took to social media on Monday (June 29) to respond to the backlash he’s received since his Saturday night concert at Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary in Petros, Tennessee.
The singer shared a video message to address people’s concerns over the concert, which hosted 1,000 fans, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and a current rise in cases in Tennessee. Following the show, many people on social media criticized Rice for putting fans’ health in possible danger at the show. Some artists also addressed the concert on social media, including Kelsea Ballerini.
“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,” Ballerini wrote.
The concert, which appeared to have little to no social distancing, also caught the attention of national media, including Variety, CNN, NBC News and more.
In the video posted on Monday afternoon, Rice says:
“What’s up ya’ll? Chase here and I just wanna address my show Saturday night. For those of you who don’t know, I had a show in East Tennessee. I took a video at 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. I understand there’s a lot of varying opinions, 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, why I get to tour the country, why I get to do live shows and sings these songs to you guys and you guys sing them back. You guys are everything to me so your safety is a huge, huge priority. So moving forward, I have a show in Ashland, Kentucky 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 and stay with the people you can with. And the biggest thing for all of us 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 shows moving forward so we can get to regular shows soon enough. Love you guys, God bless you and God bless country music.”
Watch his video message in its entirety below.
After the show, venue officials issued a statement assuring that they followed all local guidelines, however, many people 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.”
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.