The band that was formed while its four members were students at the University of South Carolina is playing three concerts at Colonial Life Arena, and two of the shows are already sold out.
The group has something special planned for each night it takes the stage — on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. And it doesn’t have anything to do with performing hit songs.
As part of the finale of its Group Therapy Tour, Hootie & the Blowfish announced it is working with the Central Carolina Community Foundation on a charitable campaign.
The band is asking concertgoers, and all of its fans in the Midlands, to make donations to three charities, with a spotlight on each one for each performance this week, according to a news release.
Ticket holders and those passing by Colonial Life Arena will have the chance to donate money or goods to the 9/11 Remembrance Foundation of South Carolina, Richland County Public Education Partners & SC for Ed, and Harvest Hope Food Bank respectively.
On Wednesday, fans can give to the 9/11 Remembrance Foundation of South Carolina, which supports military and first responders. The following evening there will be a “Fill the bus” school supply drive, and on Friday’s finale there will be a food drive where non-perishable goods will be accepted, according to the news release.
Monetary donations will be accepted each night, and Hootie & the Blowfish will match donations up to $20,000 for each charity, the release said. Donations can also be made online at HootieGives.org.
Hootie & the Blowfish is “known for making charitable giving a priority throughout their career via the Hootie & the Blowfish Foundation,” where the band has donated more than $3 million to 200-plus charitable causes, according to the release.
It is also known for its hits from the 1990s, that have become stadium anthems again this summer with the reunion tour.
“It means the world that our fans have reacted so positively,” Mark Bryan said in a news release about the sellout shows in Columbia before he and bandmates Dean Felber, Darius Rucker and Jim ‘Soni’ Sonefeld watch their beloved Gamecocks football team host Alabama at Williams-Brice Stadium on Saturday.
When they were getting started, the band played gigs at frat houses and were staples in Five Points bars and restaurants in Columbia.
Hootie & the Blowfish hit it big when the 1994 album “Cracked Rear View” went platinum 16 times. It remains one of the best-selling albums of all time and won the Grammy Award for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals in 1995
In the early 2000s, the group went on hiatus, and Rucker became an award-winning country music star. The band played a reunion concert in Atlanta in July 2018 that was followed by two more shows in August.
Now the timing is right for a full-scale reunion.
“We always felt there would be another tour, and it was just about timing. We’re not doing this for us. We’re doing it for those people who used to plan their vacations around the Hootie & the Blowfish tour,” Rucker said in the news release. “And we can’t wait to see them again.”
Days after announcing they were getting back together for a new album and tour, with Canadian rock band Barenaked Ladies, Hootie & the Blowfish added the second Columbia show because the first concert sold out in minutes.
The second show also sold out, prompting the band to add the third date in Columbia. Tickets for the Wednesday night performance are available online.
For those unable to attend any of the three concerts at Colonial Life Arena, they can still get their fix of the revived Hootie & the Blowfish with the group’s upcoming album “Imperfect Circle,” which will be released Nov. 1.
The band recorded music for the new album prior to the tour in Nashville, Rolling Stone reported. One of the 17 songs the band debated to include was co-written by Rucker and pop star Ed Sheeran, according to the magazine.
“God, I love this record so much,” Rucker said, according to Rolling Stone.
“We worked hard, spent a year writing and producing and recording this thing, so we’ve put a lot of time and effort into it,” Sonefeld said in an interview with Forbes. “I’m absolutely thrilled at where we landed.”
How to donate to Hootie & the Blowfish’s charitable causes this week
SOURCE: Essential Broadcast Media