Kelsea Ballerini calls Chase Rice ‘selfish’ for playing at concert during coronavirus pandemic

29 June 2020, 15:53

Kelsea Ballerini calls Chase Rice ‘selfish’ for playing at concert during coronavirus pandemic
Kelsea Ballerini calls Chase Rice ‘selfish’ for playing at concert during coronavirus pandemic. Picture: Smooth Country

By Rory O'Connor

Kelsea Ballerini has hit out at fellow country star Chase Rice for agreeing to perform at a show in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic.

On Saturday, June 27, Chase performed a concert at Tennessee's former maximum-security prison turned event venue, Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary.

However, videos from the event that were posted on Chase's own social media channels show huge crowds of fans packed closely together at the venue - with no visible social distancing taking place.

Chase captioned the clips: "We back", along with a sunglasses-wearing emoji.

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Upon seeing the videos, Kelsea took to Twitter to fume: "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.

Chase Rice performs to a packed concert audience during the coronavirus pandemic
Chase Rice performs to a packed concert audience during the coronavirus pandemic. Picture: Instagram • Chase Rice

"@ChaseRiceMusic, We all want (and need) to tour. We just care about our fans and their families enough to wait."

The concert comes shortly after country stars John Prine and Joe Diffie both died after contracting coronavirus.

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The venue is around 150 miles east of Nashville and 40 miles east of Knoxville, with several more shows on its calendar for the coming weeks.

Safety protocols posted on the venue's Instagram account advertise that the capacity has been reduced from 10,000 to 4,000, and that all guests will have their temperatures taken before they enter the venue.

Hand sanitiser is available and stalls are selling bandanas to use as face coverings, while staff are required to wear masks and gloves.

Tennessee's current guidelines for reopening recommend that event venues "operate in a manner such that persons from different households or small groups are able to substantially maintain six feet of separation from other persons or small groups outside their own group during their visit."

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The guidelines also suggest that staff take guests' temperatures and "strongly encourage" face masks, but states they are not a requirement.

It comes after Chase told Taste of Country earlier on during the pandemic: "In my opinion — you gotta keep people safe and all that — I mean, f**k this.

"They gotta let us go play and the people that are healthy can decide if they want to come or not.

"That’s what the American Constitution is all about, is us having the choice.

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"I’m going to go play. I’m not going to sit back and do nothing because at the end of the day, financially I can’t do that.

"I need to go play. It’s not even about me at this point. It’s about trying to put together some money here to try to pay my guys."