With live music in a traditional setting off the table for the foreseeable future due to the continued rise in coronavirus cases across the United States, a few of country music’s biggest stars are weighing in on the current COVID-19 guidelines that have been set in place around the country.
Randy Houser sparked the conversation on Sunday (July 12) when he shared a photo showcasing an airplane full of people wearing masks placed side-by-side with a picture of an empty theater.
“Anybody see a problem,” he wrote, alluding at the fact that people can wear masks on crowded airplanes, but are not allowed to gather in live music venues.
His post garnered over 1,400 comments and nearly 15,000 likes, with many fans weighing in on whether or not concerts should be happening amid the pandemic.
Country superstar Miranda Lambert was quick to share her thoughts, writing, “I effing do!”
Houser was swift to respond to Lambert, admitting, he is “just tired of stepping in all this bullsh**.”
Three-time ACM Entertainer of the Year Jason Aldean also got in on the conversation.
“No shit dude! No concerts or people going to their everyday jobs but let’s pack em in airplanes like sardines breathing recirculated air. Makes complete sense to me,” Aldean wrote alongside an eye roll emoji.
Houser responded calling it “double standard mixed signal bullsh**.”
They aren’t the only ones who feel there is a double standard when it comes to entertainment and travel. Clint Black weighed in on the conversation on Twitter, questioning, “Do you think we should end all commercial flights unless or until all other businesses are treated equally?”
“Maybe we should see if we can sing to people packed into planes? As musicians, we know what it feels like to be non-essential to society,” he added. “Do you feel it’s wrong to allow people to pack into poorly ventilated planes, but not well ventilated theaters? Asking for 1,0000,000, friends.”
The lack of live music and events isn’t just hurting the artists, their bands and production crews. In early June, NPR published the results of a survey conducted by National Independent Venue Association (NIVA) that concluded that 90 percent of independent venue owners, promoters and bookers claimed they would have to close their doors permanently if they are unable to secure government funding in the next few months. Members of the NIVA that were polled include The Bowery Ballroom in New York City, Troubador in Los Angeles, 9:30 Club in Washington, D.C. and the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville.
There isn’t an easy answer as to how live music can continue in these unprecedented times, however, several artists, such as Brad Paisley and Darius Rucker, recently performed as a part of a drive-in concert series in Nashville. Other artists, like Garth Brooks and Blake Shelton, are turning to drive-in theaters to host live-to-tape concert events around the country.
Meanwhile, American Airlines and United have returned to full capacity flights, sparking outrage from some travelers.