MORGAN COUNTY, Tenn. — A weekend concert at Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary is facing criticism.
Country music star Chase Rice posted a video on social media showing a crowd gathered at the stage. It sparked outrage from fans and other singers like Knoxville native, Kelsea Ballerini.
The venue said it followed all local requirements and precautions.
It was a scene people wouldn't expect to see during the pandemic. People packed shoulder to shoulder singing along.
"It felt great to kind of get back to normal life. I think it's been an overreaction," said attendee Alex Fountain who said Rice's video doesn't show the full story. "I felt safe the entire time."
Photos from a different angle show an open field. Some chose to stay apart, others didn't.
"At the end when that was recorded there's people at the front, but you can't see how many people chose to have their lawn chairs, space out and sit," said Fountain.
Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary said there were numerous precautions in place. Temperatures were taken at the door, hand sanitizer and bandannas were available and there was ample room to space out.
The outdoor lawn fits 10,000 people. Saturday's concert saw a crowd of 809.
"It was a great experience. I think it was very well put together," said Fountain who plans to attend the rest of the concert series.
In a statement the Brushy Mountain Group said it plans to re-evaluate the concert series and make changes that range from converting the space to drive-in style concerts to postponing shows.
It's not the only entertainment venue across East Tennessee making tough decisions to keep people safe.
The Shed in Maryville is offering concerts over multiple nights to enforce social distancing.
The Tennessee Theatre is postponing any touring productions until 2021.
"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 (954 tickets sold with 809 tickets scanned) in attendance Saturday night providing ample space in the outdoor lawn area for fans to spread out to their own comfort level. 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. 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." -Brushy Mountain Group