August Brown | Los Angeles Times
Like Covid-19 increasing everywhere south and west, country music singers Chase Rice and Chris Janson each performed at crowded concerts on Saturday, where many fans chose to ignore the recommended safety measures against the spread and contraction of the disease.
The two singers played sets in Tennessee and Idaho, respectively, in front of crowds who, in the video sequences of the sets, are seen crowded before the scenes, singing along songs, their faces not covered with masks.
Rice posted footage of Saturday’s concert at Brushy Mountain State Historic Penitentiary in Petros, Tennessee, on Instagram with the short caption “We are back”. The publication caught our attention with fans and the music industry – including Kelsea Ballerini, who wrote “Imagine being selfish enough to endanger the health of thousands of people, let alone the potential ripple effect, and playing a concert in NORMAL countries right now.”
The footage showed a scene of screaming fans with no face wraps wrapped up against the guardrails, an environment that would likely alarm public health officials. Tennessee had more than 40,000 cases of coronavirus and 584 deaths on Saturday, and is breaking new state records for confirmed cases.
Rice officials, when they arrived on Sunday, declined to comment. A local spokesperson said in an email, “All local requirements have been met for the recent concert, and many precautions have been taken. We have significantly reduced our maximum capacity from 10,000 to 4,000 people (less than 50% state opinion) with less than 1,000 people present on Saturday evening, providing enough space in the outdoor lawn for fans to stretch to their own level of comfort. underwent temperature checks before entering the site and a free hand sanitizer was provided at the entrance. “
The Brushy Mountain representative said that the 10,000-capacity site works at 11% of the set of Rice, his first show after Covid-19, but that “we have not been able to apply further the physical distance recommended in the signage posted across the property. and explore future alternative scenarios that further protect participants, artists, their teams and our employees. “
Other shows, including Sawyer Brown’s July 18 set, are currently “under review”.
Tennessee currently allows the opening of concert halls with a capacity of less than 50%.
Rice, who has placed three of the top 10 singles on Billboard’s country song board, has a full itinerary always posted for this summer on his website but Ticketmaster links show that many dates were canceled on Sunday.
Janson, meanwhile, also posted (and later deleted) social media posts showing footage of her show at the Hwy 30 Fest in Filer, Idaho. “Such a good night! Happy to come back, “he wrote to a fan who praised his performance, before deleting the message. Weekend images Festival shows a crowd of hundreds of fans, with little to no masks or distancing. Idaho currently has 5,319 cases of Covid-19 and 91 deaths.
Representatives from Janson, who placed five singles on Billboard’s country song board, did not immediately return requests for comment.
While some promoters have under fire in Los Angeles for having started hosting unauthorized concerts, these appear to be among the first major concerts fully licensed and authorized since the Covid-19 lockdown in March.
On Sunday, the city of Nashville – home to the country music industry – announced a mandatory mask policy for all public spaces. On Friday, the United States took a dark step with more than 40,000 new confirmed cases a day, with a national death toll of more than 125,000.
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