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Smash Mouth plays to mostly mask-less Sturgis crowd; rally attendance down only slightly

Smash Mouth plays to mostly mask-less Sturgis crowd; rally attendance down only slightly
Posted at 10:32 AM, Aug 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-11 16:11:19-04

The band Smash Mouth is facing criticism for playing a concert to a large crowd that were reportedly mostly mask-less. The band headlined the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally being held this week in South Dakota.

Images from Sunday night’s Smash Mouth concert show a crowd packed shoulder to shoulder in some places, with few people wearing masks.

At one point in the concert, a band member addressing the crowd can be heard saying "F*** that Covid s***,” according to KOTA-TV. It's unclear what he's saying before or after that comment.

The group defended the concert in a statement given to Billboard; band manager Robert Hayes said "the promoter did a fantastic job with their COVID protocol. They had a very strict social distancing and mask policy in place for all workers."

Hayes added comments about the "endless hours" spent to ensure the concert happened as safely as possible and “we are very happy with the outcome."

Sturgis city officials allowed the annual event to go on this year, despite pleas from residents, and recommend visitors wear masks and social distance. However, masks are not required.

Numbers from the South Dakota Department of Transportation indicate attendance numbers are similar to 2019 for the first few days:

  • Friday, August 7: 49,835 entering – down 4.3% from Friday last year
  • Saturday, August 8: 54,804 entering – down 8.0% from Saturday last year
  • Sunday, August 9: 56,149 entering – up 1.1% from Sunday last year

This is the 80th year of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. In recent years, the event has drawn between 500,000 and 700,000 people.