Thousands gathered at Smash Mouth’s concert on August 9 where they performed as part of Sturgis Motorcycle Rally’s 10-day event. Despite ongoing the coronavirus pandemic, it was reported that social distance-procedures and mask-wearing were virtually ignored during the band’s set.
Smash Mouth frontman Steve Harwell told the crowd, “We’re all here together tonight! Fuck that COVID shit!” His remarks drew immediate criticism from commentators.
The annual event went ahead without adhering to mask-wearing or social distancing requirements. Other bands who performed at the event include Kenny Wayne Shepard, Buckcherry and Trapt – though they appear to have received less backlash after performing.
As reported by Variety, more than 100 coronavirus cases have been reported in the US states of South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Montana, North Dakota, Wyoming and Washington which traced back to the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.
The New York Times has now reported that a man from Minnesota is the first known to have died from the coronavirus after attending the rally. State health officials confirmed that the man was in his 60s and did have previous health conditions. He had been hospitalised for several weeks before his death.
Before August 1, Meade County, which includes Sturgis, had reported just 71 coronavirus cases over the pandemic’s first six months.
The figure shot up to 305 by September 1, according to the State Health Department. That includes 26 cases detected when the city of Sturgis held a testing event for residents after the rally; 650 people took part.
In the past week, South Dakota as a whole has reported more than 2,000 new cases, setting single-day records several times.
Smash Mouth took to social media last month to share some of the hate mail they’ve received following the performance.
The band hadn’t responded to criticism from the show until August 24, when they shared a photo of a handwritten note with the words “selfish” and “fuckers” visible and a broken CD to their Instagram.