Sturgis Organizers Expect Lower Turnout After Coronavirus Spike, Band Cancellations

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

In one week, the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally has lost six of its headlining performers for the 2020 event.

The rally is scheduled for Aug. 7-16, but activities will be limited this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. All of the city-sponsored events, such as the opening ceremonies, the parades, a B1 Flyover and entertainment and live music at the Harley-Davidson Rally Point have been canceled.

As of Tuesday, six of the bands originally on the roster on July 21 were removed from the the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally’s website.

However, there were still around 25 acts listed, from hard rock acts to country. The lineup also includes Wyoming group Chancey Williams and the Younger Brothers Band.

Other events will include drag races and a poker tournament.

According to the Duluth News Tribune, rally organizers are expecting a lower turnout for the 80th event, but couldn’t quite gauge how much.

The usual turnout is around 450,000 people per year. The recent peak was in 2015, with 739,000 people in attendance.

Due to travel restrictions in Canada that limits non-essential travel, many Canadians can’t attend the rally who normally do, City of Sturgis spokeswoman Christina Steele told the newspaper.

Steele also said that while she knew camping spots in the area around Sturgis were filled, she’d heard of cancellations at local hotels and other facilities.

“It’s going to be very different this year, but we feel we are making reasonable precautions for those who come,” Steele said to the newspaper.

Currently, South Dakota has 895 active cases of the coronavirus, with 49 hospitalized right now. The state has seen 123 deaths since mid-March. There has been a spike in cases throughout July.

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