Drivin’ N’ Cryin’, Ed Roland will Rock Chastain benefit concert

Ed Roland and his Sweet Tea Project will perform at Rock Chastain, along with headliners Drivin' N' Cryin'. Photo: Melissa Ruggieri/AJC

Ed Roland and his Sweet Tea Project will perform at Rock Chastain, along with headliners Drivin’ N’ Cryin’. Photo: Melissa Ruggieri/AJC

Two years ago, when the brass at Chastain Park Conservancy pondered holding a benefit concert for its 10th anniversary, they were given the gift of Ed Roland.

The Collective Soul frontman, a Sandy Springs resident with school ties to the Galloway School, helped the conservancy earn $100,000 at that 2014 concert, which also featured B-52s alums Fred Schneider and Cindy Wilson and Drivin’ N’ Cryin’.

Roland — with his Sweet Tea Project — and Drivin’ N’ Cryin’ return for the third annual installment of Rock Chastain, which will close out the season at Chastain Park Amphitheatre on Saturday with a rollicking party that also features Whiskey Gentry and Brian Collins.

Kaedy Kiely of 97.1 The River will host the evening.

(Earlier this week, Kaedy and I talked to Ed Roland about the event.)

“For us, it’s really about the venue and the community. That’s why we went back to what we did the first year with the talent,” said Rosa McHugh, executive director of the conservancy. “Ed (Roland) came back and said he was interested, so we built it around him and acts that would complement him.”

Last year’s event focused more on the mission with Michelle Malone and Chuck Leavell spearheading the musical backdrop.

But since the funding from the initial show with Roland and Drivin’ N’ Cryin’ aided the conservancy with several projects — widening the sidewalk from 4 to 12 feet on Powers Ferry Road, expanding the playground and adding bathrooms among them — McHugh thought it would be fitting to “come full circle” with the artists now that those projects are completed.

Said Roland, “I live a blessed life – we just have fun…on a selfish note, I get to hang out with (DNC frontman) Kevn (Kinney) and see all of my neighbors.”

DNC's Kevn Kinney. JONATHAN PHILLIPS / SPECIAL

DNC’s Kevn Kinney. JONATHAN PHILLIPS / SPECIAL

Roland and the Sweet Tea Project will return to Chastain on Sunday to shoot a video for a song from their upcoming new album (side note, Roland said the next Collective Soul album is nearly ready to roll as well and should be released next year).

Funding raised from this year’s concert will help extend and widen the sidewalk on West Wieuca Road, McHugh said.

“We’re looking at the concert as a celebration and a thank you,” McHugh said, noting that the conservancy has raised more than $4.2 million (including the revenue from the concerts) the past four years.

The 268-acre city park, the largest in Atlanta, receives about 2 million visitors a year. The conservancy manages more than 90 percent of the park’s daily maintenance care and security. The nonprofit also enlists volunteers for about 12,000 hours of work each year to rake leaves, cut grass, remove fallen trees and other tasks.


CONCERT PREVIEW

Rock Chastain

With Ed Roland and the Sweet Tea Project, Drivin N’ Cryin’, Whiskey Gentry and Brian Collins. 7 p.m. Saturday. $30-$125. Chastain Park Amphitheatre, 4469 Stella Drive N.W., Atlanta. 1-800-745-3000, www.ticketmaster.com.


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