Kelsea Ballerini Blasts Chase Rice as He and Chris Janson Hold Packed Concerts Amid Coronavirus

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Kelsea Ballerini is speaking her mind about Chase Rice and Chris Janson's recent public performances. After the artists held a jam-packed concerts on Saturday, Ballerini joined a chorus of critics who slammed the country singers for their apparent disregard for coronavirus safety precautions.

"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," Ballerini tweeted, sharing an video of Rice's concert.

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

Meanwhile, the indie folk rock band The Mountain Goats criticized the artists, the venues, and those in attendance, tweeting, "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 f**king sucks."

Country singer Maren Morris later retweeted that post, without additional commentary. Soon after, she shared a screenshot showing Janson had blocked her on Twitter.

"Ummmmmm what did I DO?!" Morris wrote, along with a string of laughing and crying emojis.

Country singer Cam had another outlook to the backlash and encouraged everyone to aim higher. "Everyone knows that Chase & Chris as individuals are ....low hanging fruit," she tweeted along with a New York Times excerpt about contacting and calling out local government officials and people of power to initiate change. 

Rice's concert venue, the Historic Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary in Petros, Tennessee, addressed the controversy in a statement released to ET, sharing, "All local requirements were abided by for the recent concert, and numerous precautions were taken."

"We drastically reduced our maximum venue capacity of 10,000 to 4,000 maximum capacity (lower than the state’s advisement of 50%) with less than 1,000 in attendance Saturday night providing ample space in the outdoor lawn area for fans to spread out to their own comfort level," the statement continued. "All guests were given temperature checks prior to entering the venue and free hand sanitizer was provided to everyone at entry. All vendors and staff were advised to wear masks and gloves when interacting with guests, and bandanas were available for purchase on-site."

"We were unable to further enforce the physical distancing recommended in the signage posted across the property and are looking into future alternative scenarios that further protect the attendees, artists and their crews and our employees," the venue concluded. "We are reevaluating the series from the top to bottom -- from implementing further safety measures, to adding stanchions, to converting the space to drive-in style concerts, to postponing shows."

Janson, who shared a video and social media posts about his Saturday performance at Hwy 30 Fest in Filer, Idaho, later deleted the posts the following day.

A rep for Rice had no comment for ET, and a rep for Janson has not yet to replied to a request for comment.

Amid the coronavirus outbreak, Tennessee has seen a marked increase in cases over recent weeks, with the largest single-day spike in confirmed cases, 1,410, occurring the day before the concert. To date, the state has seen over 40,000 cases and more than 580 deaths.

Rice spoke with ET's Cassie DiLaura back in May about how he's handled the nationwide shutdowns and social distancing mandates.

"I know a lot of people are being politically correct and doing the right thing and staying home, and I have done that obviously. I’ve stayed home," Rice said. "But the funny part to me is like people are like, 'Stay home, don’t go anywhere!' And I’m like, 'Where are you gonna go? The places I wanna go aren’t open.'"

"I’m not gonna stay in my house, I’m not gonna let anyone tell me I need to stay home," he continued. "I’m gonna go to my buddy’s house, I’m gonna go to another buddy’s house, it’s like we got three houses that we keep going to. I personally don’t see anything wrong with it."

He continued, "I’ve laughed more, I’ve hung out more. I’ve sat around the dinner table more. I’ve got to know these people that I was otherwise buddies with, now we’re actually a real close group of people. So if you consider that breaking the rules, yeah, I’ve broken them with the best of ‘em. I had a blast and I don’t think we put anybody in danger. It’s been fine."

Rice went on to say he doesn't "believe the hype of this thing anyway."

"I think it’s serious, and I think some people are dying obviously, which is a big deal, but I don’t think it’s as big of a deal that people are making it out to be," Rice stated. "But that’s not in my control, the only thing I can control is my life, and I’m having a blast. I’ve loved every second of it."

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