Country Star Chase Rice challenges social estrangement with full concert – Variety

Country singer Chase Rice is getting excited after sharing the video of the concerts he played in East Tennessee on Saturday night, with images showing large, crowded outdoor crowds swaying shoulder to shoulder with no signs of estrangement. social or masks.

Rice posted a video of her hectic East Tennessee audience, taken from the stage, as part of an Instagram post titled, “We’re Back.” The video clips stayed awake on Sunday on her Instagram story, even as it became the subject of angry voices on social media.

One of them was country hitmaker Kelsea Ballerini, who crashed into Rice in a tweet. “Imagine being selfish enough to risk the health of thousands of people, not to mention the possible domino effect, and playing a NORMAL concert in the country right now, “wrote Ballerini.”@ChaseRiceMusicWe all want (and need) to tour. We only care about our fans and their families enough to wait. “

Another country star, Chris Janson, also used social media to share images of a concert he performed for a sea of ​​fans on Saturday night, although it was difficult to know from the images if any of the members of the audience were equally crowded in Hwy 30 Fest in Filer, Idaho wore masks. At the end of the day on Sunday, he deleted his video from Instagram, along with a tweet that showed the festival crowd.

Although the shooting of crowds stuck in Nashville bars had recently sparked controversy, these are believed to be the first cases in which stars have drawn crowds that have not strayed from the living room for performances in large numbers since the national quarantine began. … or at least the first, where the evidence of the complete lack of social distance was proudly shared by the stars themselves.

Brian May, vice president of the Brushy Mountain Group, which organized Rice’s concert at the Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary, said Variety On Sunday that “all local requirements for the recent concert were met, and numerous precautions were taken.” But he said different protocols were being considered for future shows, up to and including postponements. (The venue has more shows booked in the coming weeks by country artists Kip Moore, Jamey Johnson, and Sawyer Brown.)

Although the audience seems huge in the video Rice posted, and some news reports had an attendance of 4,000, Brushy Mountain said the number was actually well below that. “We drastically reduced our maximum venue capacity from 10,000 to 4,000 (less than the 50% state recommendation) with fewer than 1,000 attendees on Saturday night, providing ample space in the outdoor grass area for fans extend to your own comfort level, “said May. “All of the guests received temperature checks before entering the venue and free hand sanitizer was provided to everyone at the entrance. All vendors and staff were encouraged to wear masks and gloves when interacting with guests, and handkerchiefs were available to purchase on-site. ”

May indicated that the crowd was not eager to voluntarily follow the patterns of social distancing, which will drive the reevaluation. “We were unable to further enforce the recommended physical spacing on signage posted throughout the property and we are looking for future alternative scenarios that further protect attendees, artists and their teams, and our employees. We are re-evaluating the series from top to bottom, from the implementation of additional security measures, to the addition of props, the conversion of drive-in concert space, and the postponement of shows. ”

A Twitter user with the identifier @ AlexFountain23 was at Rice’s concert and defended the show against several detractors. “I was there, it was a great concert,” he tweeted. “There was plenty of room for people who wanted social distance. Masks do nothing. I can’t live in fear forever … The place was so big that if you wanted it, sometimes it could be 50 feet from people … There are many more things out there that we could get sick of that are worse than COVID. Chase Rice made a great show! ”

Janson boasted of his non-socially distant show in Idaho that drew less immediate attention than Rice’s. Janson’s show attendance figures in Idaho were not immediately known. The images he shared on Instagram were also copied and shared on Twitter.

Rice has released her resistance to quarantine before. On March 13, he tweeted: “I am not blaming any promoters or decision makers for this, they have to protect themselves and the well-being of people, so I understand all sides of this deal. I personally choose not [to] living scared, especially of something I really can’t control. “A few days later, he released a song he had written about the coronavirus crisis:”Dear crown, you don’t know the heart of a country fanatic / You don’t know we give a damn / So you can reprogram Stagecoach / But you have to understand / That you don’t know the heart of a country fanatic. “

Tennessee is one of many states that is experiencing an alarming rebound in coronavirus cases. As of Saturday, the COVID-19 case count for Tennessee was 40,172, including 584 deaths, 2,564 hospitalizations, and 26,159 recovered. The Tennessee Department of Health reported 728 new cases on Saturday. 1,410 new cases were announced Friday, the largest single-day increase in reported cases in Tennessee since the crisis began.

Idaho is also experiencing an increase in coronavirus cases. Last week, the state twice established single-day records for the new cases being reported, and added more to its COVID-19 account during the week than throughout the month of May, the Idaho statesman reported.

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Twitter user reacts to Chris Janson’s post about Idaho show

Rice and Janson were not the only country music stars to take the stage on Saturday night, although the others seemed to be in settings where social distancing was more important.

Jimmie Allen did a drive-in show for the attendees who sat in their cars. “I played our first show last night since March 11,” Allen tweeted. “First” social distance “show. I’m not going to lie. It was weird at first. I got tired, so I sat down and talked to the crowd for a while. I was totally out of show form but it felt great to play again “

Jon Pardi was doing an outdoor show in Georgia, but those familiar with the concert describe it as a dinner show where customers sat at the tables, each with their own 15×15 square where they were asked to stay inside, with a distance of six feet between table spaces. Entrance temperatures were checked and masks were said to be required on site transfers, though not during dinner or the performance.