Published Aug 26, 2020After playing to thousands of unmasked bikers in South Dakota earlier this month, Sturgis Buffalo Chip headliners Smash Mouth have become the recipients of angry hate mail, which seemingly demonizes the band for their disregard of COVID-19.
In a new Instagram post from the band, an expletive-filled letter is seen alongside a busted CD copy of Smash Mouth's 1997 debut album Fush Yu Mang. The post is captioned "recent fan mail."
Presumably, the letter is in response to the band's apathetic attitude about the ongoing pandemic. During their rally performance earlier this month, frontman Steve Harwell famously topped off the show by saying, "We're all here together tonight! Fuck that COVID shit!"
While Buffalo Chip organizers had asked attendees to try to use hand sanitizer, wear masks and keep their distance, footage and photos from the show suggested it was far more packed than usual. In fact, there were more people watching Smash Mouth than one might reasonably expect, pandemic or not.
As Brooklyn Vegan reports, a South Dakota Health Department spokesperson said they've now found at least "40 coronavirus cases connected to the annual rally." Health officials in the area have since been struggling to get accurate coronavirus contact tracing information following the event, as bikers from around the country came and went from dozens of states.
AP News explains further:
An analysis of anonymous cellphone data from Camber Systems, a firm that aggregates cellphone activity for health researchers, found that 61 percent of all the counties in the U.S. have been visited by someone who attended Sturgis, creating a travel hub that was comparable to a major U.S. city.
AP also reports that South Dakota health officials are attempting to trace the spread in surrounding states and have issued warnings to five businesses popular with bikers — including One-Eyed Jack's Saloon, a location that one Sturgis attendee noted was filled "elbow-to-elbow with guys," without a mask in sight.
Smash Mouth fans have had mixed responses to the band's decision to play Sturgis. One Instagram user commented on their hate mail post, saying, "I was upset you guys went to Sturgis. I thought it was a mistake. I seriously hope no one gets sick." Others seem to be coming to their defence.
In addition to Smash Mouth, Sturgis Buffalo Chip also featured the Guess Who, Buckcherry, Trapt, Lit, Big Skillet, Saving Abel, Drowning Pool and Quiet Riot, among others.
See Smash Mouth's hate mail below.