Country Stars Chase Rice, Chris Janson Blasted for Playing Packed Concerts in Tennessee and Idaho Despite COVID-19 Pandemic

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Over the weekend, social media lit up with strong criticisms of country musicians Chase Rice and Chris Janson, after both musicians played concerts — regular concerts with an audience crammed pretty closely together, minimal (at best) signs of social distancing going on — in Tennessee and Idaho, respectively.

The COVID-19 pandemic has hit an indefinite pause on live music and concerts. It’s been devastating to the music business. Everybody wants concerts to return. Not only are they crucial for the music business in general, but they’re a singular form of entertainment for music fans everywhere … but, with coronavirus cases spiking nationwide and the pandemic still not “under control” enough to return to these sorts of activities safely, scenes like the below will only garner negative attention for the time being.

Rice uploaded a video to his Instagram story of the concert, deleting it later due to blowback:

Janson’s show at Idaho’s Hwy 30 Fest also caught heat for similar reasons and visuals:

Per Vulture, regarding Janson’s show:

A source told Variety attendance for the event was around 2,800, or nearly triple the claimed audience for Rice’s concert. An attendee told Variety, “I personally one saw one person wearing a mask the entire day, and that was a merch seller.”

Fox News published a statement from the company that owns the venue Chase Rice at which Rice played his concert, refuting some of the visuals seen in the viral tweets:

“All local requirements were abided by for the recent concert, and numerous precautions were taken,” VP of Brushy Mountain Group Brian May said in a statement. “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 (954 tickets sold with 809 tickets scanned) in attendance Saturday night providing ample space in the outdoor lawn area for fans to spread out to their own comfort level.”

As these tweets made the rounds, strong tweets from within the music industry came out criticizing Rice, Janson and their management teams for allowing these concerts to happen given the state of the coronavirus and, particularly, spikes of the virus in states all across the country.

Said Kelsea Ballerini:

Jason Isbell had some words:

Adam Lazarra, front man of emo/rock band Taking Back Sunday, had pointed commentary directed at the management and booking agents responsible for green-lighting these concerts:

 

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