VALPARAISO | The nationally known pop rock group Gin Blossoms will be the headline act for September's 35th annual Popcorn Fest, the Valparaiso Community Festivals and Events office announced recently.
"We look for bands that appeal to the masses, and we thought the Gin Blossoms was a good fit for the festival and Valparaiso," Special Events Coordinator Tina St. Aubin said.
The group is the third nationally known band to perform at the free concert event, following Cracker in 2011 and Rusted Root in 2012. St. Aubin said Rusted Root drew a crowd estimated at 7,000.
"The beauty of the festival is that all the downtown streets are shut down, so there is a lot more room," she said. "The headliner is the key element for us to secure early on so we can begin to plan the rest of the festival. The social media response to the announcement has been overwhelmingly positive.
"We're always a little nervous when we announce something so big, wondering how people will react. It's big and expensive, challenging, risky and rewarding. When we get the positive response, it is so much better."
The Gin Blossoms originated in Tempe, Ariz., in 1987 and reached national prominence in 1992 with the song "Hey Jealousy" and their first major label album, "New Miserable Experience." The band broke up in 1997 but reunited in 2002. Their most recent album was "No Chocolate Cake," released in 2010.
Band members are Bill Leen, Jesse Valenzuela, Robin Wilson, Scott Johnson and Scott Hessel. The Gin Blossoms and several other bands, including Smash Mouth and Sugar Ray, will start the Under the Sun Summer 2013 tour later this month, eventually playing in more than 36 cities across the country.
The group is scheduled to hit the Porter Health Amphitheater stage in Central Park Plaza at 5 p.m. Sept. 7. St. Aubin said the main stage entertainment will start at noon and continue through the evening. The cost of bringing the Gin Blossoms to Valparaiso is being paid by sponsors.
St. Aubin said the VCFE also is accepting applications for those interested in being in the festival parade.