Previously, both Willie Nelson and Lynyrd Skynyrd had been scheduled to perform during the nine-day rally, though they ended up canceling over pandemic concerns. The Full Throttle Saloon was packed with attendees for the ZZ3 set, with few (or any) practicing social distancing, according to TMZ. This appearance has obviously drawn numerous concerns from health officials, who worry that the virus will be transmitted and potentially follow certain attendees back home, where it can be spread further. The rally is expected to bring in $800 million in revenue to Sturgis, South Dakota.
Along with the ZZ Top tribute band, other performers included Molly Hatchet, The Guess Who, Night Ranger, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, .38 Special and Quiet Riot. Smash Mouth was also on the bill, who've made their own headlines over their choice to perform during a global pandemic. The band's singer, Steve Harwell, addressed the pandemic to the crowd. "We're all here together tonight! F— that COVID s—!"
The Sturgis rally had also caught attention back in July after it was revealed that the organizers would not require masks to be worn, nor would they be expecting attendees to follow proper social distancing guidelines. However, they simply encouraged these measures, which very few seem to be paying attention to. The organizers did provide masks at the entrance for anyone who wanted to wear one. Venues were also capped at 50 percent capacity, although it's not clear if those rules were enforced as well.
Rod Woodruff, who owns the production company Buffalo Chip, spoke about to Newscenter1 about how they planned to handle the rally this year.
"We are going to have quite a few people here, not nearly as many as everybody would have expected but we are going to have a lot of people here," Woodruff said. "And they're all coming to have a good time and to see friends that they haven't seen probably for a year." The issue of wearing a mask and following social distance guidelines has, for some reason, become a political issue in recent months. Despite the divide, health experts have repeatedly asserted that they are all in place to help limit the spread of COVID-19.