When the pandemic first hit America, live music was one of the first industries affected. Venues across the country shuttered and every summer music festival, from Coachella to Lollapalooza, opted to cancel their 2020 events. Some artists have attempted to put on concerts that adhered to the CDC’s social distancing guidelines, but veteran rock band Smash Mouth decided to do the opposite. Despite the steadily increasing case numbers in the US, Smash Mouth held a full-scale concert in South Dakota with thousands in attendance.
The band performed a concert Sunday as part of this year’s Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in South Dakota, a 10-day festival that attracts hundreds of thousands of motorcyclists. They took the outdoor stage and performed for thousands, almost none of whom were wearing masks or following the recommended 6-feet social distance guidelines.
An attendee caught a clip of the South Dakota crowd and shared it to social media. In it, lead singer Steve Harwell can be heard addressing fans, saying, “I’ve been going crazy, you know? And now we’re all here together tonight in human once again and f*ck that COVID sh*t.”
Here is a brighter video to see all the people (credit KOTATV) pic.twitter.com/P7XW46BLiS
— Connor Matteson (@mattesontv) August 10, 2020
Meanwhile, many independent venues across the country risk permanent closure due to the pandemic. According to a study by the National Independent Venue Association, 90% of the organization’s over 2,000 venues say “they will close permanently in a few months without federal funding.” Thankfully, Senators introduced a bipartisan bill titled the “Save Our Stages Act,” which will provide six months of federal relief to independent music and entertainment venues across the nation.