At this point, it’s pretty much a certainty that the 2020 concert season isn’t going to happen.
With the COVID-19 pandemic raging on, cases spiking across the country, and restrictions requiring masks and social distancing still in effect for most of the country, there doesn’t seem to be any way to safely hold a traditional concert right now.
But Chase Rice, Chris Janson and others… they’re catching heat for still having concerts.
Last night, Chase returned to the stage to play a show at Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary, a former prison turned entertainment venue in Petros, Tennessee. Video from his Instagram shows a crowd packed in, not wearing masks, and no doubt excited to finally be back at a real concert after months of live-stream shows and virtual concerts.
Yeah, clearly no social distancing or masks there.
And now, Chase is catching heat from some of his fellow artists for putting fans at risk by holding a crowded concert in the middle of a pandemic.
Mickey Guyton replied to video of Chase’s show that she was “shaking” she was so livid, adding that Chase “ doesn’t give a shit about anyone or anything but his pocket book and that is clear in this video.”
Maren Morris also commented on the fact that no masks were worn.
I’m shaking I’m so livid. He doesn’t give a shit about anyone or anything but his pocket book and that is clear in this video.
— Mickey Guyton (@MickeyGuyton) June 28, 2020
— MAREN MORRIS (@MarenMorris) June 28, 2020
Mickey also pointed out that Chase decided to go ahead with his concert at a time when cases are spiking in Tennessee.
Kelsea Ballerini also went in on Chase, calling him “selfish” for putting thousands of people’s health at risk, pointing out that everybody WANTS (and needs) to tour right now but adding that, “We just care about our fans and their families enough to wait.”
For their part, the venue claimed that all local requirements were followed, with the venue’s capacity of 10,000 being reduced by more than 50% to 4,000 for Chase’s show. However, they sold less than 1,000 tickets in total.
They also told TMZ that guests were given temperature checks before entering the venue, and hand sanitizer was passed out at the entrance. However, the venue admits that they were “unable to further enforce physical distancing” that was recommended by signage, and hat they are exploring other options for future shows that include drive-in concerts, dividers, or just cancelling future concerts altogether.
And while Chase Rice seems to be catching the most heat, he wasn’t the only one that returned to the stage. Chris Janson played a show in Idaho last night and Granger Smith got back on the stage in Texas over two weeks ago.
You really can’t blame these guys for wanting to get back onstage.
Not only do their livelihoods depend on touring, but so do the lives of dozens of their staff and crew who have been out of jobs for months. And you also can’t blame fans who have been locked up for months for wanting to get back out to a concert and regain some sense of normalcy. At the end of the day, nobody is forcing you to go.
But at the same time, we’re in the middle of a pandemic. People are losing their lives to this virus, including legends like Joe Diffie and John Prine. And as much as we all hate it, one of the biggest things we can do to slow the spread is to avoid large gatherings. If we’re going to stop this virus, traditional concerts are probably going to have to wait for awhile – as bad as we all want to return to normal.
One thing’s for sure though – this isn’t a good look for Chase, Chris or Granger, and their fellow artists are letting them hear it.