As the pandemic continues to limit live concerts, artists are doing what they can to keep themselves in the public eye. Livestreams and limited capacity concerts are the way to go for most. But some artists are being bolder and performing live shows despite risks.
Country singers Chris Janson and Chase Rice are among the musicians that have decided to go the live route. Chase Rice held a show on Saturday at Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary in Tennessee while Chris Janson performed at Gordy’s Hwy 30 Music Fest in Idaho. When video footage of the concerts surfaced, well, let’s just say not everyone was too pleased about it.
When asked about the concert, the staff at Brushy Mountain maintains that they were following the rules. The venue normally holds 10,000 but capacity was limited to 1,000 allowing the fans to sprawl out across the 3 acre lawn.
Vice president of Brushy Mountain Group Brian May was quoted with the following statement. "All guests and employees were given temperature checks prior to entering the venue and free hand sanitizer was provided to everyone at entry. All vendors and staff were given masks and gloves to wear when interacting with guests, and bandanas were available for purchase on-site."
"Numerous signs posted across the property informed attendees of recommended social distancing guidelines. We were unable to further enforce the physical distancing recommended on the signage," he said, adding that they are considering ways to keep people safe including postponing concerts and converting the space to a drive-in.
Rice also chimed in posting an Instagram video where he said "My biggest thing is y'all. You guys are everything to me so your safety is a huge, huge priority,"
He followed up by mentioning that his next concert, to take place this coming weekend in Kentucky, would be a drive-in and he expected everyone to follow the rules. "You take your trucks, you take your cars, you have your own space. You can get out of your cars, you can get out of trucks and party with me. But stay in your own space, stay with the people you came with."
There was no public response from Janson but one of his reps released a statement to the media telling them that he was contractually obligated to play the concert and that he was told the venue he was performing at was doing all they could to stay compliant.
Despite any rules that were put in place, the photos and footage of the crowd showed everybody maskless and in close proximity to one another.
One concertgoer was quoted a saying "Everybody was close but it was kind of your own discretion. If you wanted to do it, you didn't have to do it. I feel like we're all eventually going to get it at one point whether you wear a mask.”
In the meantime, cases of COVID continue to grow across the country and health officials say that a big part of that is due to the large gatherings taking place. Hopefully a vaccine will be coming soon.