bikes

(July 31, 2020) There will be no heavy metal thunder in Ocean City this September, as OC BikeFest and Delmarva Bike Week have been canceled because of covid-19 concerns.

In a statement issued Wednesday, the rallies’ organizers said, “Due to Covid-19, and extensive discussions with the Town of Ocean City and Worcester County Health Department, we have decided to postpone all activities to 2021 … This decision has been very difficult, but when it comes to the safety of all those involved, we know it is the right decision.”

While the logic of promoter OC Jams is not being disputed, the year-long postponement of the Sept. 16-20 “Largest Motorcycle Rally on the East Coast” is another visceral blow to the already-suffering resort tourism industry.

The yearly rendezvous of motorcycle enthusiasts draws from 150,000 to 175,000 participants and fans, making it one of the richest weekends of the year for local hotels and restaurants.

“Needless to say, we are saddened to learn that Bikefest will be postponing,” said Susan Jones, executive director of the Ocean City Hotel-Motel-Restaurant Association.

“However, we understand the promoters need to follow health guidelines and doing so for the safety of their bikers. In just visualizing the event, one can see that it would be impossible to socially distance while listening to the awesome entertainment they had lined up.”

On the festival’s concert agenda this year were Kid Rock, Billy Idol, Joan Jett and The Blackhearts and George Thorogood and The Destroyers among others.

Most of last year’s concerts sold out and half the tickets for this year’s concerts, ranging from $130 for a weekend pass to $595 for a three-day VIP ticket, were gone by mid-April, Marketing Director Chase Micheal reported at the time. All the general admission tickets for Saturday were sold out at that point, as were the three-day VIP passes.

Micheal also said then that he and his staff would be monitoring the coronavirus circumstance and decide in July whether to proceed with what would have been the 10th annual OC BikeFest and the 20th annual Delmarva Bike Week.

The organizers, led by CEO Kathy Micheal and Marketing Director Chase Micheal of Wisconsin-based OC Jams, also said updated information for people who bought tickets for this year’s rallies and concerts would be released next Wednesday. This will include ticket prices and the music lineup for the Sept. 15-19, 2021 program.

In the meantime, it’s one more lost weekend for local businesses, as they attempt to get through the summer and salvage as much of the fall as they can with bike fans who may visit anyway.

“Fall is an amazing time to visit OC and cruising around on a Harley is certainly still welcome anytime,” Jones said. “It’s a great way to socially distance while enjoying a ride.”

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