Chase Rice: Country music star responds to criticism after packed gig

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Chase Rice had chosen the venue for its social distancing capability

US country music star Chase Rice has responded to criticism after he played a packed concert to hundreds of fans.

Gig-goers at the show in Tennessee, which is under a state of emergency, were crowded together, with no social distancing and not wearing face masks.

Among those to criticise Rice was fellow country singer Kelsea Ballerini, who called him “selfish” on Twitter.

On Instagram on Monday, Rice told fans to “please go by the rules” and that “your safety is a huge, huge priority”.

Saturday’s gig at Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary was the first show in Rice’s tour of venues chosen for their social distancing capabilities.

An estimated 1,000 people attended the show after restrictions were implemented at the 10,000-capacity venue, but Rice posted a video showing a large crowd standing close together in front of the stage.

Further dates are set to follow in Kentucky, Georgia and Virginia.

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Kelsea Ballerini accused Rice of endangering lives

Tennessee has seen a rise in coronavirus cases in the past few weeks. The state reported its highest ever infection count on Friday with 1,410.

Ballerini accused Rice of putting the health of thousands of people at risk.

Rice said on Instagram: “I understand that there’s a lot of varying opinions, a lot of different opinions on Covid-19, how it works with live music crowds and what all that looks like.

“My biggest thing is y’all. Y’all are why I get to write songs, why I get to tour the country, why I get to do live shows and sing you songs and you guys sing them back. You guys are everything to me, so your safety is a huge, huge priority.”

Rice went on to confirm his drive-in show in Kentucky this Friday, 3 July, would be going ahead.

“You have your own space, you can get out of your cars, you can get out of your trucks and party with me,” he said. “And the biggest thing for all of us is the safer we are now, the quicker we get to actual normal live shows, which I know we all want.

“Thank you guys for understanding, please go by the rules, please go by the laws on this Friday show coming up and shows moving forward.”

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