’90s groups hit rock festival

Shenandoah Valley Music Festival in Orkney Springs at dusk.
The 52nd annual Shenandoah Valley Music Fest will kick off today featuring a co-bill of alt-rockers Toad the Wet Sprocket and rock band Smash Mouth. Photo courtesy of Shenandoah Valley Music Festival

The Shenandoah Valley Music Festival will be starting the summer off with a Friday night full of nostalgic hits audiences can sing and jam to.

Although Toad the Wet Sprocket and Smash Mouth both made their mark with rocking ’90s chart-toppers, both groups bring their own unique sound to the collective show. The tour began performing for crowds of up to 6,000 people starting June 20 and will continue traveling through July.

Toad the Wet Sprocket bassist Dean Dinning said the show attracts audiences who listen for their favorite hits from both groups.

“We have our fans who will come out to see us wherever we play, we get a lot of families coming,” he said.

Toad the Wet Sprocket released multiple earworm hits through the ’90s including “All I Want,” “Fall Down” and “Walk on the Ocean.” After the band went their separate ways in 1998, they still performed several shows together and officially reunited in 2009.

The band released an all-new album titled “New Constellation” in October 2013 after a Kickstarter campaign to fund it. The campaign reached its goal of $50,000 within 20 hours and raised a total of $264,762 through over 6,000 backers by August 2013. Backers who donated $15 or more to the project received four bonus tracks with the album.

Toad the Wet Sprocket released a new EP on June 16 titled “Architect of the Ruin,” containing those four bonus tracks along with two brand new ones.

Dinning said audiences can finally sing along on this tour now that their new songs have taken flight. The tracks “New Constellation,” “California Wasted” and “The Moment” have made a lot of headway with fans. The band first toured with the new tunes while opening for Counting Crows last year.

“It’s great because when we were first going out and touring off of New Constellation, people didn’t know the new material well,” Dinning said.

Friday’s audience can expect to hear the EP’s title track “Architect of the Ruin,” a few songs off New Constellation and a couple of old favorites to sing along with. Toad the Wet Sprocket will open the festival’s kickoff night at 8 p.m. and Smash Mouth will be taking the stage afterward, bringing the show to an explosive end.

“By the time Smash Mouth comes on everybody’s ready for a party,” Dinning said. “Those guys are the greatest party band you’ll ever see.”

Smash Mouth is known for late’90s and early 2000s hits like “Walkin’ on the Sun” and “All Star,” as well as covers of various well-known tunes. Audiences will recognize “All Star” from soundtracks of movies, TV shows and various other media.

Show gates will open at the festival’s Shrine Mont venue in Orkney Springs at 6 p.m., and guests are welcome to bring picnics to enjoy on the lawn before the show begins.

Dinning said outdoor shows are great for both the band and the audience, and there isn’t a bad seat in the house. He just hopes new fans will make the connection between the “weird” band name and their hits.

“When we play a show like this, you see people going, ‘No way, that’s them too?'” he said.

Contact staff writer Rachel Mahoney at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or rmahoney@nvdaily.com

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