Chris Stapleton Hit by Illness, Forced to Cancel Headlining Concert

Chris Stapleton won’t be headlining on Friday night (Sept. 3) at the Bottlerock Napa Festival in Napa, California after falling ill to a “non-COVID related” illness. The “Tennessee Whiskey” singer made the announcement Friday afternoon on social media. “It is with a heavy heart that I will be unable to perform tonight,” Stapleton said. “We sincerely apologize to the festival & attending fans. Please know it isn’t a decision we made lightly & we thank you for your understanding.”

“We are also grateful to the amazing Highwomen who, on a moment’s notice, have agreed to perform in our place,” he wrote in the statement, sharing his replacement act standing in his time slot. “We are focused on getting well at home.” Stapleton was originally brought in as a replacement for Stevie Nicks, who canceled her performance due to COVID-19 concerns. 

“These are challenging times with challenging decisions that have to be made,” Nicks said in a statement posted online at the time. “I want everyone to be safe and healthy and the rising Covid cases should be of concern to all of us. While I’m vaccinated, at my age, I am still being extremely cautious and for that reason have decided to skip the 5 performances I had planned for 2021.” She added: “Because singing and performing have been my whole life, my primary goal is to keep healthy so I can continue singing for the next decade or longer,” the statement concludes. “I’m devastated and I know the fans are disappointed, but we will look towards a brighter 2022.”

Tonight’s Highwomen show will look a little different as the woman-led country music power-group will be performing with Brittney Spencer, who is filling in for Amanda Shires as she recovers from emergency surgery. Brandi Carlile, Natalie Hemby, and Maren Morris will take the stage as the group’s original members. Morris and Carlile will also perform solo sets on the  JaM Cellars Stage. Morris is scheduled to take the stage at 5 p.m. PST and Carlile will follow closely behind her for a 6:30-7:30 p.m. set. Other headliners expected to show at the Festival include Miley Cyrus, Megan Thee Stallion, Foo Fighters, Guns N’ Roses, and Run the Jewels.

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