Despite many events being cancelled this year due to the COVID outbreak, Sturgis, the famous biker rally that takes place in South Dakota annually, got the green light. Many bikers gathered to show off their bikes and listen to music performed by Smash Mouth and several other bands. Video footage of the show reveals a packed crowd with no form of social distancing being adhered to and few to no masks being worn.
The event is taking place at the Sturgis Buffalo Chip, a biker campground and outdoor venue in Sturgis, South Dakota. It is an annual event described as 10 days and nights of riding, food and music. Typically, 500,000 riders attend the rally every year.
This year’s event kicked off on August 7 and will be running through to August 16. Bands scheduled to play include Night Ranger, the Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band, Buckcherry, Lit, .38 Special, Quiet Riot, Reverend Horton Heat and Bone Thugs-n-Harmony.
The Smash Mouth performance took place on Sunday August 9. At one point, singer Steve Harwell addressed the crowd saying, “Now we’re all here together tonight. And we’re being human once again. Fuck that COVID shit.”
Neither Smash Mouth nor the public health officials for Meade County, South Dakota, where Sturgis is located, were available for comment.
This year Sturgis is expecting up to 250,000 attendees. Even though that number is half of what is usually is, this will still make it the largest event to occur since the pandemic began.
South Dakota has no rules in place regarding indoor crowds or mandatory masks. Governor Kristi Noem is said to have backed the rally after finding out that President Trump’s rally at Mount Rushmore last month did not cause an outbreak.
However, the city is making some efforts to keep the virus under control. They are conducting mass tests of residents during and after the time the festival will be taking place. They are also setting up checkpoints around the Sturgis area to re-route travelers away from tribal lands to control the spread of the virus on Native American reservations.
In addition to the concert footage, several other photos and videos from the Sturgis event have been shared over the past couple of days and those attending are rarely seen wearing masks. Those who have been interviewed have a wide variety of views on the matter. Some are COVID deniers who don’t believe they will get sick. Others are going maskless and willing to take the risk. Still others are being careful and wearing masks and distancing whenever possible.
As the rally continues, we can only hope that those in attendance manage to stay safe and healthy.