Great White apologise after playing North Dakota gig with no social distancing measures

The band previously set off pyrotechnics in a small venue at a 2003 gig, leading to 100 deaths

Controversial rock band Great White played a gig in North Dakota this week with no social distancing measures.

The band are known for their tragic 2003 gig in Rhode Island, at which 100 people were killed after the band set off pyrotechnics at a small club venue.

This week’s gig, held on Thursday night (July 9) in Dickinson, North Dakota, was part of the ‘First On First’ concert series, which markets itself on its lack of social distancing restrictions in place in spite of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.


“We do not have restrictions, believe it or not, we don’t have any,” event co-ordinator April Getz told The Dickinson Press.

“It’s one of those things where if people feel comfortable coming down and mixing and mingling, that’s their personal choice. We’re leaving it up to everybody that chooses to attend.”

See footage from the Great White gig, which was attended by hundreds of people and looked entirely like a ‘normal’ concert, below.

Great White have since apologised for playing the show. In a statement shared via their publicist with Blabbermouth, the band said: “We understand that there are some people who are upset that we performed this show, during this trying time. We assure you that we worked with the Promoter. North Dakota’s government recommends masks be worn, however, we are not in a position to enforce the laws.

“We have had the luxury of hindsight and we would like to apologise to those who disagree with our decision to fulfil our contractual agreement. The Promoter and staff were nothing but professional and assured us of the safety precautions.


“Our intent was simply to perform our gig, outside, in a welcoming, small town. We value the health and safety of each and every one of our fans, as well as our American and global community. We are far from perfect.”

A number of controversial gigs have been planned in the US recently despite coronavirus cases continuing to rise in many states. Vanilla Ice scheduled a 4th July celebration in Austin, Texas, though cancelled the gig less than 24 hours after its announcement due to poor ticket sales.

A new Wisconsin festival, originally called Herd Immunity Fest, has also been scheduled for next weekend (July 16-18). Taking place across three days, the “mini-fest” will take place on an outdoor stage at the Q&Z Expo Center, but there is nothing to suggest that social distancing measures will take place.

The UK, meanwhile, recently announced details of the country’s first socially distanced music venue. The Virgin Money Unity Arena, which is set to open at Newcastle Racecourse, will be mapped out with a series of individual viewing areas, which are safely located at least two metres apart from one another.