Smash Mouth was one of several bands to perform for a packed crowd in Sturgis, South Dakota, Sunday, August 9th, as part of the 80th annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.
The concerts were part of an extensive programming itinerary at the Sturgis Buffalo Chip, a biker campground and outdoor venue. Video and photos from the event appeared to show crowds of hundreds, if not thousands, attending Smash Mouth’s set; many people in the crowd did not seem to be wearing masks nor adhering to social distancing guidelines.
In one video from local ABC affiliate KOTA, Smash Mouth singer Steve Harwell can be heard addressing the crowd, saying: “Now we’re all here together tonight. And we’re being human once again. Fuck that COVID shit.”
— Connor Matteson (@mattesontv) August 10, 2020
A representative for Smash Mouth did not immediately return Rolling Stone’s request for comment. Nor did a public health official for Meade County, South Dakota, where Sturgis is located.
The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally began August 7th and will run through the 16th. The coming days will feature concerts from acts such as Night Ranger, the Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band, Buckcherry, Lit, .38 Special, Quiet Riot, Reverend Horton Heat and Bone Thugs-n-Harmony.
According to The Associated Press, organizers of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally are expecting up to 250,000 people from all over the country to attend, likely making it the largest public gathering in the United States since the pandemic started. (There are several livestream feeds capturing some of the goings-on in Sturgis.) South Dakota has no rules in place regarding indoor crowds nor mandatory masks. Governor Kristi Noem reportedly backed the rally after noting President Donald Trump’s rally at Mount Rushmore last month did not spur a virus outbreak.
To potentially halt the spread of the virus, at least in Sturgis, the city will conduct mass tests of residents over the coming days and weeks. There are also checkpoints set up throughout the area around Sturgis to re-route travelers away from tribal lands to prevent the spread of COVID-19 on Native American reservations.