In a video recently uploaded onto Instagram, an emotional Zac Brown lamented the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, called for stricter quarantine measures, and revealed that he’s fired 90 percent of his road crew. He also blasted political leaders and the White House for failing to get on top of the crisis: “I’m pretty ashamed… we can’t rely on our government to tell people what they need to do.”
At the clip’s start, Brown called the laid-off crew members “family” and indicated that he’d employed most of them for about 15 years. The 41-year-old then said, “I hate having to make this call, but I can’t generate [income].” A little over a week ago, Zac Brown Band nixed its spring tour dates.
After that, Brown implored his fellow Americans to view the coronavirus threat — and the corresponding prevention and safety measures — in a more earnest light. “The longer that America doesn’t take this seriously, and doesn’t stay in and try to contain this, the longer that everyone’s gonna be out of jobs,” he said.
Zac Brown then voiced his disapproval of the way the government has handled the coronavirus crisis. “We’re less protected than a lot of those countries [that have employed stringent prevention practices],” said Brown, “because no one can tell us what to do.”
“We’re late to the game,” Brown continued. “I’m pretty ashamed of how our leadership has handled this, I’m pretty ashamed of a lot of things. We can’t rely on our government to tell our people what they need to do.”
The video closed with a final, passionate plea to fans: “But if we’re gonna heal from this and we’re gonna get back to doing what we were doing before this hit, then everyone’s gotta take this seriously.”
Scooter Braun wrote that he was “beyond proud of Zac” and further rallied fans to band together against the coronavirus.
While the societal impact of the coronavirus is irrefutable, the pandemic has had a particularly devastating effect on the live music industry. SXSW, Coachella, Ultra Miami, Bonnaroo, and an array of tours and functions have been cancelled or postponed because of the crisis. Moreover, leading concert promoters Live Nation and AEG Presents have put all their upcoming events on ice.
Even so, the trying situation hasn’t come without a silver lining. Music-community fans, artists, companies, and organizations are uniting to aid one another. The Dropkick Murphys proceeded with a St. Patrick’s Day performance minus a physical crowd, instead live streaming the effort to viewers around the world.
The Recording Academy pledged $2 million to COVID-19 relief earlier this week. And Lecrae, for his part, is building and installing portable hand washing stations throughout Atlanta, which also happens to be Zac Brown’s home city.
Worldwide coronavirus statistics are constantly changing, but approximately 230,000 people have been diagnosed to date, with a little over 11,000 of these cases being attributable to Americans.
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