Country’s Collin Raye Performs Concert At Utah ‘Pro-Business’ Rally

Collin Raye
Marc Reynolds
– Collin Raye
Collin Raye performs at Utah Business Revival rally in Cedar Creek, Utah, June 14.

In what may have been the first large, full-production concert in the U.S. since mid-March, country artist Collin Raye performed in front of an audience estimated at 5,000 in Cedar City, Utah, June 14.

It wasn’t a typical concert, however. Raye played as part of a rally and event staged by Utah Business Revival, organized by Salt Lake City resident Eric Moutsos in protest of the state’s economic shutdown and in support of small, local businesses. The event was forced to move twice – once by court order — before Moutsos found the site in southern Utah and supportive local government officials.

Introduced by celebrity restaurateur Guy Fieri, Raye told the amassed crowd that the show was the most important he’s ever played, according to the Salt Lake City Tribune. “This is more than a concert,” he said. “This is a celebration of freedom and not living in fear, and moving forward.”

Before the show, Raye told Pollstar his intention in playing the concert wasn’t political even if the event it was part of was. He says he’s known Moutsos for many years and agreed to play as a favor to a friend.

Acknowledging the legal maneuvering surrounding Utah Business Revival, Raye said, “It’s had some moving parts and a couple times it felt like the wheels were going to come off. Apparently, they’ve done a couple rallies without entertainment. I said, ‘I’ll do it’. I didn’t expect there to be so much back and forth with it. For the most part I’m just taking the stance that I’m just a singer. If you want me to come out, I’ll be there. If you don’t, I’ll stay home.”

The concert included a full stage, lighting and sound at one end of the festival area, which was ringed with tents where local vendors sold wares, and appeared to be in a fairly isolated area rather than a city park, as was originally planned in Keyesville, Utah, before political pressure forced it to move to Studio Ranch in Tooele, Utah. When a Superior Court judge issued an injunction against it, Moutsos canceled the concert but announced on his Facebook page that a rally would take its place with the concert rescheduled.

Raye, who lives in Nashville, said he’d bring out a couple of players but would still perform with a full band, the remainder of which would comprise local musicians, adding the stage and production would be donated by local supporters. “Nobody wants to play a show that looks rinky-dink,” he said, laughing.

Photos of the event revealed very little social distancing or mask-wearing. But Raye felt it was important to get out there and take a chance despite coronavirus, noting that Utah is considered a “low-risk” state and cited a death rate from the virus in the state of “.003% of a population of 3.2 million.”

“One thing that appealed to me, that made me feel like it was OK, was that it’s a big open space,” Raye says. “Maybe in other states people will see this and say, ‘If they can do it then we can do it.’ I feel like if somebody doesn’t stick their foot in the water and see how cold it is, nobody’s ever going to get back in the water.

“I certainly do not consider myself an activist. I’m just an entertainer,” Raye emphized. “Nobody cares about my opinion. I feel like people are going to Costco and going to Walmart and there’s really no difference. A big, open-air concert is even safer because it is open-air. I feel like it’s going to be just fine.”

At press time, Utah reported 13,577 confirmed cases of COVID and 139 deaths.