Officials expected about 250,000 people to attend the festival, according to the New York Times, which also reported that the motorcyclists had “plenty of regard for one another but little for the pandemic.” An update posted on the Buffalo Chip website in July stated that there would be signs positioned in the campground “reminding guests to remain socially distant, encouraging the use of face coverings and explaining recommendations from the CDC to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.” Guests would also be required to have masks “with them” when entering the amphitheater.
The Washington Post has reached out to Smash Mouth’s representatives for comment on the band’s decision to perform at the rally, and to Buffalo Chip for comment on whether any of the encouraged CDC recommendations were enforced. Admission to the Smash Mouth performance — and others by bands like Lit, Night Ranger, Quiet Riot and Trapt — was included as part of the overall rally ticket.
Twitter users questioned the crowd’s willingness to risk their health for Smash Mouth, several riffing off the “All Star” lyric in which Harwell sings, “I ain’t the sharpest tool in the shed.” Comedian Travon Free tweeted, “The irony of getting Covid at a Smash Mouth concert is once it kills you, the years finally stop coming.”
CNN reported Monday that 60 percent of Sturgis’s nearly 7,000 residents had voted against holding the rally, which normally attracts about 500,000 people. The city council still approved it.