The Scene: Sturgis Bike Rally 2009



When:August 3 – 9, 2009

Where:Sturgis, South Dakota

Who: Aerosmith, Foghat, Cheech and Chong, Korn, Jackyl, Tesla, Yin Yang Twins, Hinder, Toby Keith, Buckcherry, and more.

The Scene: Why cover the Sturgis Bike Rally? It’s not a music festival, at least not in the typical sense. It does, however, contain all the elements of a music festival. Tons of live music, lots of drinking/drugs, and camping.

Also, I happened to be passing through.

The sleepy 6,000 person downtown turns into a festival area filled with vendors, sponsors, and somewhere around 500,000 bikers. Bars that have been closed all year open just for this ten day window. For miles outside of town fields are transformed into campgrounds. Days are filled with bike rides through the Black Hills and the nights are all about music and drinking.

If you manage to get to Sturgis, here are five sights worth catching.

The Main Street of Sturgis. Even if you don’t like motorcycles, you’ll love the bikes at Sturgis. Main Street, closed to all traffic not on two wheels, is like strolling thought a motorcycle museum. And if you want to see the real crazy wheels, there’s numerous bike builds happening all over Sturgis.

The legendary Buffalo Chip Campground. Like most festivals, the real action takes place in the campgrounds, and the Buffalo Chip is the campground to stay at in Sturgis. Live concerts dominate the night and the rules are little more relaxed here. Want to take off your shirt while drinking a beer? This is where you belong.

The Black Hills of South Dakota. The host of the entire event sometimes gets overlooked in the all debauchery. Located on the eastern edge of the state, daily rides on rolling hills can take you to Mt. Rushmore, over into Wyoming, or even into the cosmos. Check the weather report. One sunny morning had us dodging golf ball sized hail later in the afternoon.

Gladiators battling it out in the Knuckle. If you always thought the one thing your local bar needed was an ultimate fighting ring, then welcome to the Knuckle. Anybody can fight provided you’re sober enough to sign the waiver. Three rounds at one minute each against an opponent relatively close to your weight…except for one awesome brawl where, no shit, a 110 pound girl fought a 160 pound monster.

The outdoor arena at Full Throttle. Billed as the largest biker bar in the world, it’s hard to argue with a bar that contains a full sized train bridge inside its grounds. We got to catch the Yin Yang Twins here for an awesome show. There’s live music here every night.

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We are Music Festival Wizard -- a loose coalition of writers, photographers, artists, and musicians roadtripping around the world in search of the "perfect" music festival.