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Chase Rice will continue to tour despite facing backlash from fans and peers for his packed concert in east Tennessee over the weekend. However, the country music star said he’ll be taking additional safety precautions moving forward.
“What’s up y’all, Chase here. I just want to address my show on Saturday night,” Rice told his 1 million Instagram followers.
The “Lonely If You Are” singer stirred up controversy for sharing footage from his first in-person concert in months that showed hundreds of fans singing along without masks. No one appeared to be social distancing.
“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,” Rice continued.
“I understand that 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,” he added. “My biggest thing is y’all. Y’all are why I get to write songs, 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” crooner announced his next live performance in Kentucky on Friday will be a drive-in show in order to ensure the safety of fans.
“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,” he said.
Rice told his fans “the safer we are now, the quicker that we get to go to actual normal live shows, which I know we all want.
“So, thank you guys for understanding, please go by the rules, please go by the laws on this Friday show coming up and the shows moving forward,” he concluded.
Singer Kelsea Ballerini was among the country singers who slammed Rice for “being selfish” and putting “thousands of people’s health at risk” with Saturday’s performance.
A spokesperson for the venue where Rice played told the Los Angeles Times “numerous” safety precautions were taken.
“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 percent) 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,” a representative for the Historic Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary said. “All guests were given temperature checks prior to entering the venue and free hand sanitizer was provided to everyone at entry.”
Tennessee has allowed concert venues to open at below 50 percent capacity.
The Brushy Mountain spokesperson added they “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.”
Another country star, Chris Janson, was also slammed for playing a jam-packed festival on Saturday night in Idaho. Organizers of the event told Billboard all legally required precautions were taken.
Watch — Chase Rice called out for crowded concert footage:
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