On Saturday night, 1,000 people packed into an outdoor amphitheatre to watch Chase Rice perform and there wasn’t a mask in sight.
According to TMZ, the concert was held at Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary in Petros, Tennessee, a former prison turned event venue, where people packed in to see the country singer.
While the event centre typically holds 10,000 people, only 1,000 attended. However, that didn’t matter when everyone stood shoulder-to-shoulder next to the stage.
Rice seemed unphased by the huge risk of spreading COVID-19, even leading the crowd in a singalong and shared the moment on his Instagram stories.
Chase Rice just played a concert to an enormous crowd of unmasked fans here in Tennessee. For once, I am at a loss for words. pic.twitter.com/wB47u1EaFd
— Lorie Liebig (@lorieliebig) June 28, 2020
Saturday’s concert was the first of 12 shows to take place in the United States.
In a statement to ET Canada from Brushy Mountain, they said “numerous precautions” were in place and “all local requirements were abided.”
The statement added, “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. 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.”
People on social media slammed Rice for the disregard for safety and shared their anger.
Imagine risking your life in a pandemic to hear Chase Rice.
— Zackary Kephart (@themusicdivide) 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
Remind me not to listen to Chase Rice anymore… oh wait, I never did anyway.
— Kira Capri (@KiraCapri919) June 28, 2020
Chase Rice has epitomized the absolute worst of country music from day one. Hateful, ignorant, sleazy, and privileged.
— Country Universe (@CountryUniverse) 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
Chase Rice held a whole ass concert tonight in Tennessee. No one social distancing. No one wearing masks….oh my god
— hollaween (@hollaweenn_) June 28, 2020
Kelsea Ballerini and Maren Morris were among those tweeting about the concert, with Morris being blocked by Chris Janson, who was also criticized for performing, after retweeting the Mountain Goats’ post.
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
the people in this audience, along with the presenters of this show, are assuring that conscientious musicians won't be able to work their jobs for a while, and that conscientious audiences won't be able to see shows for the foreseeable, and to be blunt, that fucking sucks. https://t.co/QwB85m0Phv
— The Mountain Goats (@mountain_goats) June 28, 2020
ummmmmm what did I DO?! 😂😂😂 pic.twitter.com/zpsd8fGMEt
— MAREN MORRIS (@MarenMorris) June 29, 2020
On Monday, Rice took to social media to respond to the uproar, announcing his upcoming concerts would be drive-in events.
“I understand that 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, 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 them back. You guys are everything to me, so your safety is a huge priority,” Rice said in an Instagram video.
“Moving forward, I have a show in Ashland, Kentucky on Friday, and it’s a drive-in show,” he continued. “You can take your trucks, take your cars. You have your own space, you can get out of your cars, you can 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. And the biggest thing for all of us is the safer we are now, the quicker we get to actual normal live shows, which I know we all want.”
He concluded: “Thank you guys for understanding, please go by the rules, please go by the laws on this Friday show coming up and shows moving forward.”