The city of Sturgis, South Dakota has been hosting The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally since 1938. Annually, approximately 500,000 guests motorcycles roar down Hwy 34 for fun and entertainment. This year’s event runs from August 7th thru August 16th. All Music Magazine sent Mark Horan of MarkHoran.Pictures LLC 2,000 miles to cover the event because there were rumors of live concerts as there always have been in the past; a spot of normality in The Black Hills of South Dakota-the home of a young boy named Rocky Raccoon. That’s another story for another day. Mark will tell his story about this great town and the entertainment witnessed day by day via reviews over his five day stay.
I traveled to Sturgis, South Dakota to the only live music festival any where in the United States on August 9th. The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally 2020 went off as planned but there were some glitches. Most of the headlining bands cancelled because of the Covid-19 situation. Others asked that their names not be posted to shield them from public shaming or the cancel culture. But this isn’t the story I am telling today, just the precursor.
My story is limited to the entertainment events at The Full Throttle Saloon about seven miles northeast of downtown Sturgis in the rolling hills. Upon arriving at the venue I was in awe at the size of the complex; a large building with lines of motorcycles parked in front. There was a steady stream of traffic coming and going with staff working as traffic directors on site. There is a large camp ground at the rear of the property that supports the saloon the other 51 weeks out of the year. There is a moonshine distillery where you can purchase moonshine. Towering over the parking lot are huge artistic metal sculptures of motorcycle riders. The scene of the tower sculptures reminded me of the movie Mad Max.
Walking through the front doors the music was rocking from a stage to my right. There is a large bar that runs down the middle of the saloon as well as another that runs down the left side. Located on the backside there are two large doors the size of garage doors for patrons to exit out the rear of the venue. Upon walking through the openings, a whole new perspective opens up. There you will find an open-air area with a bar, apparel shop, tattoo parlor, and restaurants on the left. Jewelry and leather clothing tents fill the middle. To the right you will find food trailers complete with fresh lemonade and homemade ice cream made on the spot. Past these vendors with a swap meet feel, a massive stage is located at the back of the asphalt. So, the venue has two stages hosting bands simultaneously through out the night.
The inside stage entertainment is non-stop from open to close, and the outdoor stage hosts three bands a night. Tonight I covered “Blandini” and “Lynch Mob“. On the inside stage played “Tim Montana and The Shrednecks”, “Jesse James Dupree & Dixie Inc“, and a headliner whom will remain nameless at their request on the main open-air outside stage.
Outside precautions where adhered to as there were multiple hand sanitizer stations and circles drawn on the asphalt to aid in social distancing that were six feet apart. Multiple times on the public address system concert goers were reminded to keep their distance, sanitize their hands, and have a good time. People stayed in their groups of under six and left room in between. Nobody wanted to ruin their ability to enjoy the bands on stage.
First up was Lynch Mob on the inside stage. George Lynch is a great guitarist and he surrounded himself with great musicians. Paul Drennan on bass (Lynch Mob, Three Forks Road, Blandini) Will Hunt on drums (Evanescence, Black Label Society, Blandini) and on vocals Nathan Utz (Resist and Bite, Blonz) Check out the images below!
Next on the main stage Tim Montana and The Shrednecks at 7:30 Pm.
Jesse James Dupree & Dixie Inc followed Tim Montana and The Shrednecks on the main stage at 9:00pm. Many know Jesse James Dupree from his long standing band, “The Jackyl” who will be performing on the main stage Thursday night.
Blandini graced the indoor stage at 10:00pm. “Blandini” is Jeff Blando lead guitar and vocals (Slaughter, Vince Neil) Paul Drennan on bass (Lynch Mob, Three Forks Road) and Will Hunt on drums (Lynch Mob, Evanescence, Black Label Society). Tonight we had a guest vocalist Nathan Utz (Lynch Mob,Resist and Bite, Blonz)
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Photographer and Editor/Founder of AllMusicMagazine.com. My love of live music has taken me to incredible experiences with the top bands of all time in stadium shows to the smallest venues with equally inspiring musicians. Using the medium of photography and my publication, these memories will last forever.