Country Singer Chase Rice Criticized for Tennessee Concert with No Masks or Social Distancing

Other country artists like Kelsea Ballerini and Jason Isbell called out Rice for the decision

Chase Rice performs at the 10th Annual BBR Music Group Pre-CMA Party at the Cambria Hotel Nashville on November 12, 2019 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Leah Puttkammer/Getty Images for BBR Music Group)
Chase Rice performs at the 10th Annual BBR Music Group Pre-CMA Party at the Cambria Hotel Nashville on November 12, 2019 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Leah Puttkammer/Getty Images for BBR Music Group)
Getty Images for BBR Music Group
By Bonnie Stiernberg / June 29, 2020 10:02 am

Country singer Chase Rice is facing criticism after playing a concert over the weekend in Petros, Tennessee where attendees did not wear masks and ignored social distancing guidelines.

Rice performed at the Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary, a former prison that is now a museum and occasional concert venue, on Saturday night. The 10,000-capacity venue reportedly only allowed 4,000 people to attend the show and posted a notice to its website saying social distancing guidelines would be followed at the concert, but video and photos from the show make it clear that fans were packed in tightly and not wearing masks. Rice shared video from the show to his Instagram stories, captioning it “We back” and adding a sunglasses emoji.

The show took place just one day after Tennessee reported its highest ever single-day increase in COVID-19 cases.

Other prominent musicians criticized Rice for playing the gig. Kelsea Ballerini tweeted, “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.” The Mountain Goats’ John Darnielle wrote, “The people in this audience, along with the presenters of this show, are assuring that conscientious musicians won’t be able to work their jobs for a while, and that conscientious audiences won’t be able to see shows for the foreseeable, and to be blunt, that fucking sucks.”

Rice’s show on Saturday was the first stop on his planned summer tour.

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