Music

Chase Rice Draws Criticism By Playing Packed Concert During Coronavirus Pandemic

SANTA ROSA, CA - JUNE 15: Chase Rice performs on Day 2 of County Summer Music Festival at Sonoma County Fairgrounds on June 15, 2019 in Santa Rosa, California. Photo: imageSPACE/MediaPunch

Chase Rice drew criticism from the media and his country singer peers over the weekend after performing a packed concert that, from the looks of things, showed little to no regard for social distancing.

The "Eyes on You" hit-maker performed at the Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary in Petros, Tennessee on Saturday night (June 27).

Petros is located in East Tennessee about 130 miles from Nashville.

Rice's Instagram story showing the live crowd jammed close to each other in spite of the ongoing COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic got criticized publicly by multiple country stars.

"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," Kelsea Ballerini Tweeted.

Mickey Guyton spoke out as well, and Maren Morris retweeted indie rock band the Mountain Goats' criticism of Rice's decision to play such an event at a time when coronavirus cases are on the rise in Tennessee.

Brian May, VP of Brushy Mountain Group, which hosted Rice's concert, told Variety that "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 in attendance Saturday night, providing ample space in the outdoor lawn area for fans to spread out to their own comfort level," May added. "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 face masks and gloves when interacting with guests, and bandanas were available for purchase on-site."

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As of June 29, Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary has shows scheduled for Sawyer Brown, Kip Moore, Aaron Lewis, Whiskey Myers and Jamey Johnson. May says he's open to changes for those shows, from stricter social distancing guidelines to postponements.

"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," May told Variety. "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."

Rice wasn't the only country music performer criticized over the weekend for drawing a sizable crowd during the coronavirus pandemic. Chris Janson caught some flack as well over his crowd shots from the Hwy 30 Fest in Filer, Idaho.

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Chase Rice Draws Criticism By Playing Packed Concert During Coronavirus Pandemic