For the second straight year, the Chastain Park Conservancy is bringing a ’90s chart-topper to its Rock Chastain benefit concert.
After 10,000 Maniacs headlined the 2018 event, the Gin Blossoms are coming this year for the conservancy’s largest annual fundraiser, Oct. 3 at 7 p.m. at Cadence Bank Amphitheatre at Chastain Park in Buckhead. The conservancy is a nonprofit that maintains and protects the greenspace.
“It’s a great way to bring the community together,” said Rosa McHugh, the organization’s executive director. “We have an opportunity to open up the amphitheater in support of the park, and I think that’s just something wonderful, that we’re able to offer it for everyone that enjoys this park.”
Opening for the Gin Blossoms will be MamaDear, a Nashville-based country group, and Ruby Velle & The Soulphonics, an Atlanta-based rhythm and blues band.
McHugh said all three groups were selected for this year’s concert to give its audience a wide variety of music.
“We wanted to have something for everyone,” she said. “Our demographic really enjoys ’90s rock, and having the name from that time and a band that has played at the amphitheater (before) from that time (is key). Having local talent was also important to us, so bringing in Ruby Velle was good with their rhythm and blues sound and MamaDear (provides a good mix).”
McHugh said despite MamaDear being a Nashville band, one of its members, Parker Bradway, grew up in the area, went to Westminster and played sports at Chastain’s Northside Youth Organization (NYO) program.
“His band (plays) porch music, a version of country music,” she said. “I think that’s something you don’t see a lot with the amphitheater (performers). We wanted to reach out and appeal to a lot of different tastes of music. They’ve been playing in Monaco for a while; Prince Albert has been a big fan of theirs. They’ve opened for Sting and Enrique Iglesias.”
But the Gin Blossoms remain the headliner. The band formed in 1987 in Tempe, Arizona, and after catching on as a top local act, it became nationally known following the release of its second album in 1992, “New Miserable Experience,” with hits “Hey Jealousy” and “Found Out About You.” The album was No. 1 on the Heatseekers list and No. 30 on The Billboard 200. “Hey Jealousy” was No. 4 on the Mainstream Rock Tracks chart and reached No. 20 on the Top 40 Mainstream, and “Found Out About You” climbed to No. 1 on the Mainstream Rock Tracks and No. 6 on the Top 40 Mainstream chart.
The band’s song “Til I Hear It From You,” released in 1995 as part of the “Empire Records” movie soundtrack, hit No. 1 on the Canada Top Singles chart and peaked at No. 3 on Billboard’s U.S. Adult Top 40 list. It was on the 1996 album “Congratulations I’m Sorry,” which also had the song “Follow You Down,” which hit No. 1 on both the Canada Top Singles and Billboard Adult Alternative Songs charts.
The band broke up in 1997 but reunited in 2001 and has been together ever since.
None of the band members were available for an interview, but in an event summary posted to the conservancy’s website, two members said they were looking forward to it.
“We’re all happy to play some music for beautiful Chastain Park. It’s a great event for a wonderful cause. Hopefully, I can get a round of golf in, too,” guitarist Jesse Valenzuela said.
Said singer/guitarist Robin Wilson, “Any chance to play in Atlanta is great. We are proud to support this cause with our music.”
After the event raised $120,000 last year, the fundraising goal for 2019 is $130,000, McHugh said. She added this year’s concert has sold out of its pit-area seating, which is all through sponsorships, a first for Rock Chastain.
Tickets start at $50 (plus fees), and McHugh said the conservancy is offering a special $150 Double Date ticket for two individuals that grants access to both Rock Chastain and NYO’s 70th anniversary party Oct. 6.
Of the concert, she said, “It’s truly exciting to host this event for the community, and I would love to see a lot of familiar faces and new faces and it’s really a wonderful night out. You get to see your neighbors and enjoy the park.”
For more information or to purchase tickets, visit bit.ly/2kpgnue.