Organizer of Festival Chris Janson Played Defends Social Distancing Measures
Chris Janson headlined Day 3 of Gordy's Hwy 30 Music Fest in Filer, Idaho, on Saturday (June 27). He's now under attack for photos and video that show a less than socially distant audience enjoying his music during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
As happened during Chase Rice's show in eastern Tennessee the same night, fans seem to have pushed toward the stage for a better view. Janson hasn't said anything about his set, and all pictures from it have been removed from his social media.
The festival explains to the Associated Press that bleachers were added so fans could spread out. Spokesman Gordy Schroeder tells Taste of Country radio station 95.7 KEZJ that they followed local regulations and that the festival was approved by "the powers that be."
"Hand sanitizing stations have been provided throughout this year's expanded park and we continue to announce from the stage, there is plenty of space for people to spread out if they feel inclined while still being able to listen and celebrate music,"Schroeder says. "Furthermore, medical professionals are on site if needed. We simply hope to provide a positive experience for families and that's what we have done. This year's music festival has been memorable to say the least, as people continue to thank us for helping them feel normal and celebrate our amazing state. Just one reason the gift of music is so powerful."
Videos at the Gordy's Hwy 30 Music Fest Facebook page confirm statements from fans who say few were wearing masks and social distancing did not take place with any reliability. Vulture reports that 2,800 people were in attendance for Janson's set, but that number has not been confirmed. Less than 1,000 were at Rice's concert at a venue that was at about 10 percent capacity on that night.
Janson's performance was the last of 30 performance slots listed on the festival poster, with several artists playing multiple sets and a few pulling out due to illness (per KEZJ). Jack Ingram and Koe Wetzel headlined, and Sam Riggs, Sundance Head and the Steel Woods were also on the bill.
The state of Idaho is in Stage 4 of reopening amid the coronavirus pandemic, which is very similar to the stage Tennessee is in, thus making guidelines similar. However, Idaho's coronavirus situation is very different than Tennessee's — to date there have been 4,254 cases (the eighth fewest total in the nation) reported in Idaho, with 283 new cases reported on Friday.
Still, the virus is spiking: For nearly two months between mid-April and mid-June, the state was listing about 30 new cases per day. Now, 150 to 200 is the new normal. Numbers in Tennessee, meanwhile, never really plateaued. As of June 26 there were 39,444 coronavirus cases statewide, with last Friday's reported number of new cases (1,410) setting a single-day increase record. The population of Tennessee is about four times that of Idaho.
A cross reference of tour dates with venues shows that neither Rice nor Janson has any live dates, aside from drive-in shows, planned for the month of July.
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