Country music artist Chase Rice is speaking out after facing backlash for holding a crowded concert amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Chase sparked the ire of fans and fellow musicians alike for sharing a since-deleted video to his Instagram stories that showed his performance at the Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary in Tennessee over the weekend. On Monday, the singer addressed the controversy in a video message to his fans on Instagram.
“I just want to address my show Saturday night…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 are 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,” the 34-year-old said.
“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 huge priority.”
The “Eyes On You” singer then said that his upcoming shows would look a little different in order to better accommodate social distancing protocols.
“Moving forward, I have a show in Ashland, Kentucky on Friday and it’s a drive-in show. 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 safest we are now, the quicker we get to get to actual normal live shows which I know we all want.”
The “Lonely If You Are” singer’s original video of his concert showed what looked like a crowd of people packed tightly together at his Tennessee show, very few of whom were wearing masks.
Fellow musicians were none too thrilled with chase’s apparent disregard for social distancing guidelines, and many took to social media to express their displeasure—including country artist 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. 🤷🏼♀️ https://t.co/eJaLnGu28k
— Kelsea Ballerini (@KelseaBallerini) June 28, 2020
“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,” Kelsea wrote alongside video of Chase’s concert. “@ChaseRiceMusic, We all want (and need) to tour. We just care about our fans and their families enough to wait.”
Despite the heated response, a spokesperson for the venue insisted they had taken “numerous precautions” ahead of Saturday’s show.
“We drastically reduced our maximum venue capacity of 10,000 to 4,000 maximum capacity…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,” a spokesperson said in a statement.