A Mid-State man will receive a refund after being escorted out of Saturday's Kenny Chesney and Tim McGraw “Brothers of the Sun” concert for looking like none other than Kenny Chesney.
According to security at the LP Field concert, other fans thought they were seeing Chesney in the crowd and that created a disturbance.
Nathan Blankenship lives in Bellevue and works as a school teacher. He told Nashville's News 2 he was looking forward to Saturday's show.
He said, “I decided I wanted to get on the floor and enjoy it so I dropped about $200 on a single ticket.”
According to Blankenship, he has been several Chesney concerts, including two in Nashville in recent years, and is often told he looks like the country superstar.
“Here or there somebody asked to take a picture to make their friends or family think they were with Kenny or whatever, that's fine. I don't mind,” he said, adding, “I can't help with the way I look.”
Saturday night, Blankenship said a security officer approached and asked to see his ticket.
“Next thing I know he grabs my ticket. He says, ‘Here, can I have your ticket?' I said here, here's my ticket and I just thought he was going to lead me back to my seat, which I would have been fine with, but he grabs me by the arm and starts pulling me up the walkway to the very top,” Blankenship recalled.
He continued, “He just said that [I was] purposely trying to impersonate a celebrity so we're kicking you out.”
Nashville's News 2 obtained pictures of Blankenship being escorted out of the stadium. The photos show crowds of people around him.
“I think the way they handled it made it seem worse, like they were really escorting Kenny Chesney through the crowd,” he said.
Blankenship claims he wasn't trying to impersonate Chesney.
He said, “Is it because I wear the hat? I see a million of these hats here. I've worn baseball caps before and people still want to have pictures made but it's never caused a problem. I can't believe they think I'm actually him. Why would Mr. Chesney be in the crowd when Tim McGraw is singing?”
Blankenship says he has another question gnawing at him.
“I would like to know what it meant when the security said ‘this is coming straight from the top.' That's what I'm curious about. Who's the top?” he asked.
A high-ranking LP Field executive told Nashville's News 2 Sunday night that Metro police were tipped off about Blankenship before the concert.
Apparently country music stars saw him in crowds at previous concerts and thought he was a disruption.
Monday, after learning what happened to Blankenship, Kate McMahon, vice president of marketing for the Messina Group, Chesney's label, said they planned to reach out to Blankenship to resolve the matter.
“We never want our fans to leave disappointed and we are reaching out to him to make this situation right,” she said.
McMahon said no one in Chesney's management or promoter camp was aware Blankenship was escorted from the show until after Nashville's News 2 report.
After speaking with Sony, Blankenship released the following statement to Nashville's News 2 Monday night, saying the company has offered to refund his $200 concert ticket.
“I would like to thank my family, friends and the many well wishers who have supported me in the past 24 hours, which has probably been the most hectic day of my life. I heard from Sony Music and the concert promoters, and they have told they will be refunding the money I paid for my ticket to the concert. In addition, Sony has said they will be sending me several CD's, which I appreciate. I would like to clear up one possible misconception. I am not now, nor have I ever been a Kenny Chesney impersonator and contrary to several reports, I do not sign autographs, pretend to be him for financial gain, or follow him around from concert to concert. In fact, Saturday night was the first Kenny Chesney concert I have attended in four years. As I was being escorted out I was clearly stating, “I am not Kenny Chesney.” I have never wanted to be famous and after all this attention from the press, I am glad I chose to be a teacher. I am sure that when school starts back in August and the students ask about my summer break, I will have quite a story to tell. In closing, let me say that I will continue to be a Kenny Chesney fan, and because of this press it is unfortunate that I may never get to attend one of his concerts again, however, the next concert I do attend will be one where the artist does not look similar to me.”