Kelsea Ballerini calls Chase Rice 'selfish' for performing live in front of an unmasked crowd amid pandemic
Rice shared two videos on Instagram, showing a packed crowd against the outdoor stage without wearing masks and with no social distancing whatsoever
Kelsea Ballerini is slamming fellow country singer Chase Rice for putting on a normal live concert without proper social distancing measures amid a global pandemic. Rice's gig, held on June 27 at Petros' Historic Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary in Tennessee, consisted of an audience of 1,000 people. Late that night, Rice shared two videos on Instagram stories, showing a packed crowd against the outdoor stage without wearing masks and not appearing to be taking any protective measures against the spread of the coronavirus. One video included the caption "We back [smiling sunglasses emoji]."
Ballerini said on Twitter the following day (June 28) that Rice's actions were "selfish". "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," she wrote.
Journalist Lorie Liebig replied to her tweet, "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." According to Billboard, singer-songwriter Cassadee Pope replied, "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?"
Many Twitter users are appreciating Ballerini's comment, saying, "Very well said. Priorities are backwards in so many ways" and "Thank you I don’t understand how this was even allowed. There is nothing I want to do more than to go to a concert, but it’s not possible. Love you KB." One fan wrote, "As a nurse in Boston who is a huge country music fan who has given back vacation time and has had all summer plans for concerts/trips cancelled this blatant disregard for the health of people makes me so sad."
According to Billboard, the VP of the Brushy Mountain Group, Brian May, said in a statement that the venue's capacity had been reduced from 10,000 to 4,000 ahead of the concert, but there were less than 1,000 people who attended Rice's show. "All local requirements were abided by for the recent concert, and numerous precautions were taken," May said. He noted that everyone's temperature was checked before being allowed entry, and hand sanitizer was given to attendees. "Vendors and staff were advised to wear masks and gloves," he said, though it was not mandated.
But May also said that the venue was unable to enforce the recommended distancing during the gig, even though it was posted around the space. "We are re-evaluating the series from top to bottom -- from implementing further safety measures to adding stanchions to converting the space to drive-in style concerts, to postponing shows," he said.
According to The Tennessean, officials in the state have been debating mandating and enforcing the use of face masks to help mitigate the spread of the coronavirus. So far, Tennessee has had a total of 40,172 cases of Covid-19, with 6,155 of them confirmed in the last seven days, as per records posted by the CDC.