The Smash Mouth concert on Sunday in front of a packed crowd at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in South Dakota sparked widespread outrage.
Despite the coronavirus pandemic, thousands of bikers flocked to the small town of Sturgis on Friday for the start of the annual motorcycle rally. More than 250,000 people are expected to take part in the 10-day rally, making it one of the most important events of the pandemic.
South Dakota has seen an increase in coronavirus infections in recent weeks.
The group was one of the headliners of the Sturgis Buffalo Chip Music Festival.
Smash Mouth was one of many musical acts – including Trapt, Night Ranger, Saving Abel, Buckcherry, Reverend Horton Heat, 38 Special, Quiet Riot and Big Skillet – to play at the multi-day festival where entry to the entire event costs $ 360 per person. no one, according to the Buffalo Chip website.
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Videos and photos posted to social media showed many in the large crowd apparently flouting social distancing guidelines on Sunday night. Most of the participants did not appear to be wearing masks.
Event organizers said signs would be posted at all entry points and assembly areas reminding guests to stay socially out of the way, encouraging the use of face masks and explaining recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, the disease. caused by the coronavirus. Masks are mandatory for entry and it is recommended to keep them, according to the organizers.
Frontman Steve Harwell told the crowd, “We’re all here together tonight. F – this COVID s – “, shows a video.
NBC News reached out to a representative for Smash Mouth on Tuesday to comment on the reaction. The representative said the group had no further comments.
In a city survey of residents, more than 60% said the rally should be postponed, the Associated Press reported. But businesses have pressured city council to continue.
Some Twitter users scoffed at Smash Mouth, citing the phrase “I’m not the sharpest tool in the shed” from their song “All Star” in response to the decision to perform at the big event.
“Imagine risking exposure to Covid for this… and voluntary exposure to Smash Mouth at the same time,” one user tweeted.
Another user tweeted: “So Smash Mouth fans are downright willing to risk death to hear All Star live. “
Smash Mouth is among the latest musical acts to be criticized for performing at a crowded live event in recent months.
A charity concert featuring The Chainsmokers in the New York Hamptons last month sparked widespread outrage and a state investigation after videos showed attendees appeared to ignore social distancing advice.