“You can’t take risks without really understanding the consequence,” he says.
Kenny Chesney announced Thursday (March 12) that he’s postponing the 11 shows of his Chillaxification tour out of an abundance of caution in light of the spreading COVID-19 pandemic.
“These are uncertain times, and Kenny Chesney feels the unrest,” read a statement from the singer. “With his band and crews deep in rehearsals for the 2020 Chillaxification Tour, he found himself looking at people who’ve been part of his road family for decades – and he knew he had to do something. It wasn’t an easy decision, but when you’re invested in the musicians, the techs, the drivers and especially the fans, it comes down to one thing.”
That thing, Chesney said in the statement, is a lack of clarity about what course the viral disease will take in the U.S. “You can’t take risks without really understanding the consequences,” he said in the statement. “In times of uncertainty, I won’t take chances with those I love. I can’t imagine, as much as we love being out there playing for the fans, being able to do that through the worry our nation is experiencing.
“So, while we wait to see how this terrible virus is going to impact our country, I think it’s only fair to move these first several dates now. We are figuring some of this out as we go, but I know people buy airline tickets, book hotel rooms – and I wanted to try to give everyone as much time to sort that out as possible.”
The impacted dates begin with a planned April 18 show at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, and includes stadium shows in Milwaukee, Tampa, Minneapolis, Atlanta, Houston and San Antonio. Also postponed are amphitheater dates in West Palm Beach, two shows in Mississippi and a May 28 show at Blossom Music Center in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. Reps at Messina Touring are working on finding alternate dates for the show later this year, with hopes of announcing the replacement shows within six weeks; those unable to attend will get refunds.
“This is all uncharted,” said Chesney. “I’m like everyone else: watching the news, wondering when we may know something concrete, not sure how this gets transmitted, worried someone I know will catch it. I want to believe this will all be okay in the end; but right now, I don’t feel like this risk to No Shoes Nation is worth it.
“Nobody wants to get out there for these shows more than I do. We’ve started rehearsals; everything is loaded in – and the band sounds great. Music is medicine when your soul or your heart need healing, but I don’t want my music to put anyone at risk. So, I promise: we are going to work as quickly as we can to sort out what we can and can’t do in terms of these dates.”
Current plans are to kick off the tour on May 30 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh. As a number of cities and states impose bans or suggest citizens stay away from mass gatherings, Chesney joins an ever-expanding list of dozens of tours and festivals that have pulled up stakes in an effort to control the virus, which at press time had exploded into 129,185 confirmed cases and resulted in 4,749 deaths, 38 of which occurred in the United States.
April 18 — Arlington, TX @ AT&T Stadium
April 25 — Milwaukee, WI @ Miller Park
May 2 — Minneapolis, MN @ U.S. Bank Stadium
May 7 — West Palm Beach, FL @ iThink Financial Amphitheatre
May 9 — Tampa, FL @ Raymond James Stadium
May 13 — Southaven, MS @ BankPlus Amphitheater
May 14 — Brandon, MS @ Brandon Amphitheater
May 16 — Atlanta, GA @ Mercedes-Benz Stadium
May 22 — Houston, TX @ Minute Maid Park
May 23 — San Antonio, TX @ Alamodome
May 28 — Cuyahoga Falls, OH @ Blossom Music Center
For information on how to stay safe and to receive updates on the spread of the disease in the U.S., visit the CDC website.