This past Saturday night (June 27) Nashville-based country musician Chase Rice performed an outdoor concert at Historic Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary in Petros, Tennessee. The concert took place just one day after Tennessee reported its highest-ever count of new coronavirus infections. In photos from the event (below), attendees can be seen standing close together; many are not wearing masks.
According to The Associated Press and The Washington Post, Chase Rice posted video footage from his show on his Instagram Stories and wrote, “We Back.” Several members of the country music community have criticized Chase Rice and his decision to perform the concert.
Tennessee native Kelsea Ballerini shared footage of the concert on Twitter, writing, “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.” She added, “We all want (and need) to tour. We just care about our fans and their families enough to wait.”
When reached by Pitchfork, Brian May (Vice President of the Brushy Mountain Group) shared the following statement:
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. 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.
“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,” Rice said in the below video statement, promising that future shows will be socially distanced drive-in events. “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.”