Kelsea Ballerini called out fellow country singer Chase Rice for hosting a concert with a packed audience amid the coronavirus pandemic Saturday night. Rice resumed his tour with a performance at the former prison Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary in Petros, Tennessee, and video from the event appears to show people close together and ignoring social distancing guidelines meant to slow the virus' spread. The venue defended hosting the show, claiming less than 1,000 people were at the concert.
"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," Ballerini tweeted Sunday evening, along with a video from the concert. "[Rice], We all want (and need) to tour. We just care about our fans and their families enough to wait." Singer Cassadeee Pope was also shocked by the video, writing in response, "Wait. Is this real? I’m so confused as to how this many people got approved by a venue to gather during a pandemic. Wtf?"
Chase Rice just played a concert to an enormous crowd of unmasked fans here in Tennessee. For once, I am at a loss for words. pic.twitter.com/wB47u1EaFd— Lorie Liebig (@lorieliebig) June 28, 2020
Rice, who is best known for co-writing Florida Georgia Line's hit "Cruise" and his own hit "Eyes on You," resumed his tour on Saturday night with his Petros show. The venue can usually hold up to 10,000 people but was only allowing 4,000 for Rice's show. The Brushy Mountain Group defended hosting Rice's performance in a statement to TMZ, noting that less than 1,000 people went to the show which should have provided "ample space in the outdoor lawn area for fans to spread out to their own comfort level."
"All guests were given temperature checks prior to entering the venue and free hand sanitizer was provided to everyone at entry," the Brushy Mountain Group said. "All vendors and staff were advised to wear masks and gloves when interacting with guests, and bandanas were available for purchase on-site." The company added that they will try to enforce social distancing as their own signs recommended. They are also looking at other ideas to make concerts at the venue safer, including dividers and a possible drive-in style arrangement.
Rice himself shared videos of fans singing together at his concert on his Instagram Story. His next tour date is scheduled for Friday at the Paramount Arts Center in Ashland, Kentucky. Later in July, he will be performing at drive-in theaters in Georgia. Rice has been on the road to promote his new EPs, The Album Part I and The Album Part II.