It is becoming more and more clear, there are currently 2 Americas: while a part of the country is taking the COVID-19 crisis seriously, the other part is throwing its masks at the face of scientific experts, this other part is getting reckless, irresponsible, out of control. and honestly, everything goes.
At a moment when new coronavirus cases spike across the US, country singer Chase Rice has decided to do a tour, and, on Saturday night, he played a packed concert for thousands of fans in Tennessee. The venue was a former prison-turned-event center in Petros, and even though the venue’s capacity was limited by 60% to allow some social distancing, the photos of the night show fans packed close to the stage, with no mask on anyone’s face… so much for physical distancing! Even though the promoter declared that only 1,000 people actually showed up and that all attendees ‘were given temperature checks prior to entering the venue and freehand sanitizer was provided to everyone at entry,’ it’s obvious that no rule regarding physical distancing was respected once people got inside the venue.
According to the videos and photos posted on his Instagram (apparently now removed but still visible on the DailyMailUK page), Chase Rice encouraged people singing along, an activity which has been highly discouraged by scientists as it can be a super-spreader of the virus. Everyone seemed to have a great time, and nobody looked concerned about getting contaminated and spreading the virus. Interestingly, Chase Rice has the intention to continue as plenty of other concerts are scheduled throughout the summer in Kentucky, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Nevada, including a few indoor venues!
Rice went under attack from all the corners of the internet, even after deleting his videos of the show. For example, you can read plenty of comments like this one on his IG page: ‘This is absolutely DISGUSTING!!! I have been on the front lines in Nashville since early March, watched COUNTLESS patients die ALONE, been using the same soiled N95 mask for weeks and this is what you are choosing to do down the street?!?!? ????’
Musician Jason Isbell won for the best comment, as, without even naming Rice, he launched this attack on Twitter: ‘Boy y’all really throwing the term “country star” around today. It’s like the adult film industry, they aren’t all “stars.” Hell, some are so broke they’ve decided to do shows this weekend regardless of what might happen to their non-isolated, maskless audience!’ Meanwhile, plenty of other artists have expressed their disapproval, from Kelsea Ballerini to the Mountain Goats (see below).
Imagine breaking the rules of your quarantine and testing positive for seeing Chase Rice? I didn’t even know who he was before today, and I don’t care to offend his 1M followers on Twitter and Instagram, his music is mediocre at best.
That said, people who were ready to risk their lives to sing along ‘Eyes On You’ or ‘Lonely If You Are,’ will scream at your face: ‘But what about the protests?’ To put things in perspective, I have attended a few protests and I can say that the large majority of the people were wearing masks while keeping some social distancing… not always as it was not possible at the very large ones. And masks do matter, whatever your political convictions are, it’s just basic science.
Then you have articles like this one published by NPR which are saying that the spikes are not due to the protests but linked to excess partying (based on contact tracing) and even though some media would be biased, there is simply no equivalent between a Chase Rice concert and a civil rights movement. Looking at how some people are willing to take risks and defy the police authority, there are people ready to get hurt for the Black Lives Matters movement because it is a worthy important cause which, hopefully, will lead to important changes in our society. But a Chase Rice concert is not even close to this.
Boy y’all really throwing the term “country star” around today. It’s like the adult film industry, they aren’t all “stars.” Hell, some are so broke they’ve decided to do shows this weekend regardless of what might happen to their non-isolated, maskless audience!
— Jason Isbell (@JasonIsbell) June 28, 2020
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. ??♀️ https://t.co/eJaLnGu28k
— Kelsea Ballerini (@KelseaBallerini) June 28, 2020
the people in this audience, along with the presenters of this show, are assuring that conscientious musicians won’t be able to work their jobs for a while, and that conscientious audiences won’t be able to see shows for the foreseeable, and to be blunt, that fucking sucks. https://t.co/QwB85m0Phv
— The Mountain Goats (@mountain_goats) June 28, 2020
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