In early August, Bay Area band Smash Mouth performed in front of a packed audience at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in South Dakota. Despite the band’s assertion that safety precautions were taken, video evidence showed otherwise, with hundreds of maskless concert-goers packed together in an outdoor field.
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Now state health officials have found 40 cases connected to the rally. North Dakota has found 17 related the the rally, plus 103 cases spread across eight states. The AP reports that the 7,000 residents of Sturgis are being mass tested. It makes for a contact tracing nightmare, given that researchers have found that the hundreds of thousands of tourists that arrived for the event have since visited 61% of all U.S. counties.
In response to outrage, Smash Mouth pushed back on criticism of their performance in a statement sent to Billboard which stated they spent “endless hours” ensuring proper COVID-19 protocols, but fans were still not happy to hear the news and have been vocal about their opposition to the band’s performance. Some have even gone so far as to send physical hate mail filled with expletives and broken CDs.
The band seems unconcerned with the backlash, evidenced by an Instagram post with the caption “recent fan mail.”
Dan Gentile is a culture editor at SFGATE. Email: [email protected] | Twitter: @Dannosphere