Zac Brown Addresses COVID-19: 'We're Late to the Game' - Rolling Stone
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Zac Brown on U.S. Response to COVID-19: ‘We’re Late to the Game’

Popular country-music touring act says he had to let go most of his road crew

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Zac Brown expressed his disappointment with U.S. leadership's response to the coronavirus in an Instagram video.

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UPDATE (3/20): Zac Brown Band have canceled all touring plans for 2020, including the Roar With the Lions dates that were slated for late spring and summer. “We are deeply disappointed this has happened, touring is our life blood and performing live for our fans is the best part of this job,” said the band in a statement. “Bottom line though, we want to take every precaution to put the health and safety of our fans and crew first. We are in unprecedented times which requires unprecedented decisions. It is up to all of us to change the course of this pandemic and make sacrifices for the sake of our fellow man. The sooner we all do our part, the sooner we can get past this.” Fans who have already purchased tickets to Zac Brown Band’s 2020 shows will be eligible for refunds via Ticketmaster or at the point of purchase.

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The touring business has been hit particularly hard by the spread of COVID-19, with virtually every tour and major event either canceled or rescheduled for later in 2020. In an emotional Instagram video, bandleader Zac Brown sounded off on the economic devastation of having to lay off his road crew and expressed his disappointment with the way U.S. leadership has been handling the crisis.

“It was a hard day today. For the last 15 years, my crew and who I carried with me out on the road to play my shows and do what we do, I’ve had to let go of about 90 percent of my family — the people that I traveled with and grew my business with, the people I high-five on the way out to the stage, the people that have done their jobs and done them well,” he said, appearing on the verge of tears. “I hate having to make this call, but I can’t generate out there and I can’t tour because of the coronavirus.”

Brown, who postponed the spring leg of his band’s Owl tour last week, also called for citizens — particularly those “who are out partying and the people that are out sitting on beaches and the people that don’t care if they get this virus and bring it home to their grandparents” — to take the coronavirus seriously, since the effects are only beginning to be felt in the U.S.

“The longer that America doesn’t take this seriously and doesn’t stay in and try to contain this, the longer everyone’s going to be out of jobs, the longer that we will be pushed into this recession that we’re all about to enter into. The sickness has just begun here, it’s just started to rear its head, so you need to wake up. You need to stay indoors and try to socially distance yourself and stay inside.”

Most crucially, Brown took aim at U.S. leadership for the way it has responded to the threat in this country. The time to act had already arrived, he said, and we are trying to chase and keep up.

“We’re late to the game. I’m pretty ashamed of the way that our leadership handled all of this, I’m pretty ashamed of a lot of things,” he continued. “We can’t rely on our government to tell our people what they need to do. You can read between the lines, you can read all of the articles that are happening everywhere around the world, and we are less protected than a lot of those countries because no one can tell us what to do.”

As of now, Brown’s Roar With the Lions Tour dates for summer are still on the books.


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