Lake of the Ozarks has caught negative headlines for two weeks in a row, as photos at a pair of concerts showed large crowds with limited masks or social distancing being respected. Tech N9ne is on the hot seat following a performance over the weekend, while DJ Borgeous drew similar coverage a week ago.
Missouri has been among the rapidly escalating states for coronavirus cases, seeing its 7-day moving average of new cases go as high as 1,400 at the end of July after staying below 500 throughout the pandemic until the start of the month. Cases have since dropped off, however, standing at 1,019 as of Monday afternoon.
Borgeous made headlines at the beginning of August for his performance at a lakefront bar called Shady Gators. The crowd appeared to be packed in tight to the stage barrier, with no masks visible.
— NORF (@norfdog) August 2, 2020
Tech N9ne’s show took place at the Regalia hotel, featuring similar lapses in recommended social distancing or mask wearing and a crowd that was said to be over 1,000 strong.
Other artists have taken heat this summer, from Chase Rice to Great White to the Chainsmokers, for performing at gigs where guidelines seemed to be ignored. The Sturgis Motorcycle rally and concerts taking place throughout the town over the next several days are also expected to draw large crowds without social distance observation.
From Consequence of Sound:
These flagrant abuses of public health guidelines have angered other musicians, who have abided by public health guidelines and postponed their own upcoming touring plans. They worry that such concerts could exacerbate the spread of coronavirus and delay their own return to touring (which is a chief source of income for many artists). In response to Chase Rice’s recent concert, The Mountain Goats’ John Darnielle tweeted, “The people in this audience, along with the presenters of this show, are assuring that conscientious musicians won’t be able to work their jobs for a while, and that conscientious audiences won’t be able to see shows for the foreseeable, and to be blunt, that fucking sucks.”
Local officials have defended the events, and pointed out that the widespread coverage has only led more people to head to central Missouri.
“You just think about what this has done for our economy and you just go, thank you folks,” Lake Ozark Mayor Gerry Murawsky said of the national coverage, which he credits for doubling tourism. “I look at that and go, well, maybe we’ve done something right.”