Chase Rice is speaking out about his controversial weekend concert that didn't include social distancing or masks for a crowd of more than 1,000 fans. The singer, who made headlines earlier this year following his awkward appearance on Peter Weber's season of The Bachelor, posted a video to Instagram in which he told his fans that their safety is his main concern amid the coronavirus pandemic.
"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," Rice told his fans.
"My biggest thing is y'all...You guys are everything to me, so your safety is a huge priority."The country star also announced that his show in Ashland, Kentucky this Friday will be a drive-in show with safety guidelines in place, and he urged his fans to get out of your trucks and party with him but to stay in their own space with the people they came with.
Rice added that the safer everyone is now, the sooner he can get back to doing normal live shows in concert venues. He also implored his fans to follow the rules when they come to his shows.Many of Rice's fans defended him in the comments to his video.
"We support you Chase! People can choose to stay home, no one is forcing them to go," one fan wrote.
"All the hate on him for having a concert is mind-blowing," another added. "This is America, right? Keep doing what you're doing, Chase!"
But others told the singer he's "too late," with some calling him "selfish" for not canceling his show amid the pandemic. Others said Rice doesn't care about his fans and called him out for not apologizing for what went down at his Tennessee show.
"Love your fans so much you're willing to put their lives in jeopardy to make a buck, " one commenter wrote.
"Love that you didn't even apologize," another wrote. " What you did was a huge slap in the face to every artist who has had to cancel their tours."
Rice has been under fire following his show at Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary in Tennessee on Saturday night, where hundreds of maskless fans stood shoulder-to-shoulder during his performance.
In a statement to Billboard, Brian May, the VP of the venue, said capacity had been proactively reduced from 10,000 to 4,000 and that only about 1,000 people actually showed up for Rice's concert. May also stated that all local requirements and precautions were taken ahead of the show and that all concert-goers had their temperature checked before they were allowed into the venue.