Watch Chase Rice Go from Prison to Hell

On Saturday night (June 27), Chase Rice went back to the old normal.

He loaded in all of his gear, he did his sound check, he poured himself a Jack Daniels, and he took the stage at the Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary.

The former maximum-security prison in Petros, Tennessee — 160 miles east of Nashville — has been closed for more than a decade, and the Rice show was just one in the prison’s Live at Brushy concert series.

While the prison website declares, “We will be observing social distancing guidelines,” the photos and videos from the Rice show tell a very different story. Fans were not wearing masks, the very large general admission crowd was standing elbow to elbow, and the concert went on for more than an hour.

It’s obvious that the people there were eager for real live country music, and were just kind of done with the whole virtual live streaming shows. But what about the rest of the world? With all those fans in such close proximity, it’s very likely that many of them caught the virus from a fan standing nearby. Even if only one person in the crowd had the virus, symptomatic or not, imagine how many fans around the infected one would’ve been at risk. And then when those fans got in their cars and went home, think about the people they came in contact with that hadn’t even attended the show.

Throughout the current COVID-19 pandemic we are living through, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have been encouraging the use of contact tracing to slow the spread of infection: identifying people who have an infectious disease and their contacts who may have been exposed, working with them to interrupt disease transmission, and self-isolating the infected person and their contacts.

So after a larger-than-large gathering, how does contact tracing even work? It’s too soon to know, but the country fans on Twitter are not happy about Rice’s decision to go ahead with a show that, under the circumstances, should have had much more stringent guidelines in place.

Sawyer Brown, Kip Moore, and Jamey Johnson all have shows in the prison series throughout the summer and fall.

Meanwhile, the plan to Reopen Tennessee is asking that everyone take the pledge to do so responsibly, with safety guidelines and best practices in place.

Alison makes her living loving country music. She’s based in Chicago, but she’s always leaving her heart in Nashville.


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