Smash Mouth’s concert on Sunday in front of a packed crowd at Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in South Dakota drew widespread outrage.
Despite the coronavirus pandemic, thousands of bikers poured into the small city of Sturgis on Friday for the start of the annual motorcycle rally. More than 250,000 people are expected to attend the 10-day rally, making it one of the largest events to take place during the pandemic.
South Dakota has seen an uptick in coronavirus infections in recent weeks.
The band was one of the headliners at the Sturgis Buffalo Chip music festival.
Smash Mouth was one of several musical acts — including Trapt, Night Ranger, Saving Abel, Buckcherry, Reverend Horton Heat, 38 Special, Quiet Riot and Big Skillet — to play at the multi-day festival where admission to the entire event cost $360 per person, according to the Buffalo Chip website.
Videos and photos posted to social media showed many in the large crowd seemingly flouting social distancing guidelines Sunday night. Most attendees did not appear to be wearing masks.
Event organizers said signs would be posted at all entry points and gathering areas reminding guests to remain socially distant, encouraging the use of face coverings and explaining recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. Masks are required for entry and it is recommended they be kept on, according to organizers.
Frontman Steve Harwell told the crowd, “We’re all here together tonight. F— that COVID s—,” one video shows.
NBC News reached out to a representative for Smash Mouth on Tuesday for comment on the backlash. The representative said the band had no further comment.
In a survey of residents conducted by the city, more than 60 percent said the rally should be postponed, The Associated Press reported. But businesses pressured the City Council to proceed.
Some Twitter users poked fun at Smash Mouth, invoking the line “I ain’t the sharpest tool in the shed” from their song “All Star” in response to the decision to perform at the large event.
“Imagine risking exposure to Covid for this … and voluntary exposure to Smash Mouth at the same time,” one user tweeted.
Another user tweeted, “So Smash Mouth fans are straight up willing to risk death to hear All Star live.”
Smash Mouth is among the latest musical acts to come under fire for performing at a packed live event in recent months.
A charity concert featuring The Chainsmokers in New York’s Hamptons last month drew widespread outrage and a state investigation after videos showed attendees appearing to ignore social distancing guidance.