UPDATE: June 30, 2020: Chase Rice spoke out about his June 27th concert, which sparked criticism from both fans and fellow artists, like Kelsea Ballerini, because it happened during the coronavirus pandemic.
"My biggest thing is y'all," he said in an Instagram video. "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."
See his full response, below:
Kelsea Ballerini had some words for her fellow country music star Chase Rice after he played a packed concert for fans in Tennessee amid the coronavirus pandemic on Saturday, June 27.
She took to Twitter to express her distaste for Rice’s decision, quote-tweeting someone who posted a video showing an unmasked crowd standing close together, not abiding by recommended social distancing guidelines. “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,” she wrote. According to Us Weekly, Rice had posted a clip from the show with the caption, “We back,” but it has since been deleted after a wave of criticism poured in.
“All local requirements were abided by for the recent concert, and numerous precautions were taken,” Brian May, VP of the Brushy Mountain Group, told Variety in a statement. (Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary was the venue where the concert was held.)
“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,” he continued. “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,” May said. “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.”
Ballerini was not the only person to call out Rice on social media.
As for those who may try to argue, “But what about all the Black Lives Matter protests?”—there is not evidence that those are causing spikes in COVID-19 cases, according to a study by the National Bureau of Economic Research.
“Our findings suggest that any direct decrease in social distancing among the subset of the population participating in the protests is more than offset by increasing social distancing behavior among others who may choose to shelter-at-home and circumvent public places while the protests are underway,” the report states, per CNN.
Originally Appeared on Glamour