Music venue officials reevaluate concert series, following Chase Rice concert backlash

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Officials at a Morgan County music venue are looking at reevaluating safety measures, after video and photos of Chase Rice’s concert caused backlash.

Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary hosted the first concert of its Summer series Saturday night, with Chase Rice. Videos posted online show no social distancing in place and few masks, causing outrage from fellow artists and music industry insiders.

However, management with the venue as well as their broadcast partners 96.7 Merle say they went beyond the requirements.

MORE: Music City musicians upset after fellow artists performing packed concerts

“I feel like what I saw from the promoters as far as what they laid out and asked people to do was safe, moral, responsible,” explained the radio station owner Ron Meredith.

Many artists however, called out Rice and his team as selfish.

“It’s not on the artist. He came to sing and he did and the promoters tried their best. They put forth every effort to make sure people stay apart, but again you can’t legislate morality or intent,” said Meredith.

The VP of Brushy Mountain Group saying they drastically reduced the maximum venue capacity, lower than the state’s advisement of 50% with less than 1,000 fans in attendance Saturday night. He added that all guests were given temperature checks and free hand sanitizer.

“They did the best they could do to try and host an event and keep people safe and once you do that I don’t know how you can police peoples desires to stand next to each other or not,” questioned Meredith.

Brushy Mountain reps admitted they were unable to further enforce the physical distancing recommended in the signage posted across the property.

“I mean the only alternative is to stop doing anything and I don’t know how they would survive or we would survive if all our advertisers just stopped,” Meredith explained.

Now the venue team is reevaluating the series; looking at further safety measures considering adding barriers, converting the space to drive-in style concerts or postponing shows.

“We were proud to be part of it and hopefully they will be able to find a way to continue forward safely with these other shows,” proclaimed Meredith.

Sawyer Brown is up next on the bill at Brushy Mountain playing in a couple of weeks, followed by Aaron Lewis in August.

COVID-19 in Tennessee

(This reflects what the TDH is reporting each day at 2 p.m. CST for every county other than Davidson. Information for Davidson comes from the Metro Public Health Department.)

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