How the A-Town Get Down Festival Continues to Give Back


Published:

Cedric Smith

Grateful parents enlarge and enhance their annual gift to the city that made their son feel at home.

Alex Townsend found a home, briefly, in Savannah, and his parents, Tom and Jean, have found a unique and enduring way to express their appreciation. For the seventh straight year, they are hosting the A-Town Get Down Festival, a multi-faceted tribute to the artistic expression that was a big part of Alex’s life as a student at SCAD (the Savannah College of Art & Design). An illustrator and drummer, Alex never quite felt that he fit in the St. Louis area where he grew up.  In Savannah, he told his parents, “I’ve found my people here.” A short time later Alex – nicknamed A-Town by some of his friends – was killed in an auto crash at the age of 21.

A year after the Valentine’s Day tragedy in 2010, the Townsends launched the first A-Town Get Down at Savannah Station. In Alex’s memory the family also started a program in St. Louis to donate pianos to needy music students, said Tom Townsend. But in Savannah, there were two big reasons why a festival made sense as a way of keeping Alex’s memory alive.

 

"I’ve found my people here."

“First, he and I went to a lot of concerts and festivals. We shared favorite bands. Music was a topic we often discussed.” Townsend said. “But second, Alex was the kind of kid that was highly creative. In your conventional school setting he often felt out of place and had some periods of low self-esteem. So a festival featuring several different forms of artistic expression allows other people to do what Alex did – and that is to discover a talent, something that they might be good at. We are so happy that Alex had been able to find his place. It was important that we didn’t lose him while he was still searching.”

From the beginning, the A-Town Get Down festival has featured more than musical performers. A graffiti artist, Peat Wallaeger, performed between acts at the first festival, and local artists representing different styles painted throughout the event. Alex’s friends helped to select the performers for the inaugural festival, and some have remained involved over the years.

 

Edit ModuleShow Tags

South's Greatest Photographers 2018

We're looking for the greatest, most creative photographers. If that is you, or you know of any, don't hesitate to nominate!

South's Greatest Kids Contest 2017

When it comes to cute, the kids of the South are all way above average! Share the cuteness and nominate your kids today.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Events Calendar

  • Nominations for Legends, Leaders, and a Life Well Lived Award

    Feb 14, 2018
    8:30 AM - 5:00 PM @ Senior Citizens Inc.

      Nominations needed for the SCI "Legends, Leaders, and Life Well Lived Award"   Senior Citizens, Inc. (SCI) needs your help in identifying...

  • Scenic Impressions: Southern Interpretations from the Johnson Collection

    Oct 13, 2017
    10:00 AM - 5:00 PM @ Telfair Academy

    When the world gets urban, the South gets Southern. That’s one way to sum up Scenic Impressions: Southern Paintings from the Johnson Collection,...

  • Paul Stephen Benjamin: Reinterpreting the Sound of Blackness

    Jan 26, 2018
    10:00 AM - 5:00 PM @ Jepson Center

    Paul Stephen Benjamin (American, b. 1966) is a conceptual artist whose work is a meditation on the color black, specifically as an entry point into...

  • #art912, Avanguardia

    Nov 17, 2017
    10:00 AM - 5:00 PM @ Jepson Center

    Avanguardia, an exhibition by Savannah-based artist Lisa D. Watson (American, b. 1967), explores the encroachment of the constructed environment on...

  • Carrie Mae Weems: Sea Islands Series, 1991-1992

    Jan 26, 2018
    10:00 AM - 5:00 PM @ Jepson Center

    Considered one of the most influential contemporary artists, Carrie Mae Weems (American, b. 1953) has continued to explore the African American...

  • Hilton Head Island Seafood Festival 2018

    Feb 19, 2018
    All Day @ Hilton Head Island Various Locations

    Join us for the quintessential, Lowcountry family-style culinary celebration on Hilton Head Island. Explore artisan made art, gifts and specialty...

  • Free Lecture: Diane Cantor – “A Writer's Take: How Flannery O'Connor Chose Words”

    Feb 25, 2018
    4:00 PM - 5:00 PM @ Flannery O'Connor Childhood HOme

    Drawing on Flannery O'Connor's letters concerning a writer's ear as well as selections from her short stories, Diane Cantor will provide examples...

  • Opening Lecture Panel: The Art and History of Bonaventure

    Mar 01, 2018
    6:00 PM - 8:00 PM @ Jepson Center

    Learn more about the fascinating history and art of Bonaventure with a panel of short presentations. Local historian Dr. Christopher Hendricks will...

  • Architectural Pub Crawl

    Mar 01, 2018
    6:30 PM - 9:00 PM @ Prohibition Savannah

    Upon leaving Prohibition Savannah, the tour will visit Husk Savannah, followed by El-Rocko Lounge, and will end at the Alley Cat Lounge at 9:00...

  • Anything Flows Yoga Class

    Jun 15, 2017
    7:00 PM @ Dragon Dance Yoga

    7 pm Anything Flows Yoga Class Walk in rate: $14 Dragon Dance Yoga This class will take you beyond your comfort zone while still...

  • Matthew Reardon Center’s 2018 Autism Conference

    Mar 02, 2018
    8:00 AM - 5:00 PM @ The Coastal Georgia Center

    The Matthew Reardon Center for Autism’s third annual autism conference will be held on Friday, March 2, 2018, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the...

  • Savannah Antiques & Architecture Weekend

    Mar 02, 2018
    9:00 AM - 5:00 PM @ Green-Meldrim House

    The Second Annual Savannah Antiques & Architecture Weekend will be held on March 2, 3, 2018. Sonny Seals, author of Historic Rural Churches in...

  • Bonaventure: A Historic Cemetery in Art

    Mar 02, 2018
    10:00 AM - 5:00 PM @ Jepson Center

    Steeped in art and history, Bonaventure Cemetery is one of Savannah’s most scenic locales, attracting visitors since the early 19th century....

  • Folk to Fine Arts Festival

    Mar 02, 2018
    10:00 AM - 9:00 PM @ Commerce Civic Center

    Join us for the seventh annual gathering of regional artists displaying and selling works ranging from folk to fine art during an exciting...

  • GnomeCon 7

    Mar 02, 2018
    11:00 AM - 11:00 AM @ Cottonwood Suites Savannah/Pooler

    We are a group of gamers, sci/fi and fantasy fans who decided we needed a convention closer to home. Now in it's 7th year our convention features...

  • Public Opening: Shine A Light When It’s Gray Out

    Mar 02, 2018
    6:00 PM - 8:00 PM @ New Gallery of Modern Art

    The public opening for fine artist Stephen Wilson's newest series Shine A Light When It’s Gray Out will be held at Charlotte’s New Gallery of...

  • Shine A Light When It’s Gray Out

    Mar 03, 2018
    10:00 AM - 6:00 PM @ New Gallery of Modern Art

    Fine artist Stephen Wilson's newest series Shine A Light When It’s Gray Out is being shown at Charlotte’s New Gallery of Modern Art from March...

  • Coffee and Conversation: Shine A Light When It’s Gray Out

    Mar 03, 2018
    11:00 AM - 12:30 PM @ New Gallery of Modern Art

    Fine artist Stephen Wilson's newest series Shine A Light When It’s Gray Out is being shown at Charlotte’s New Gallery of Modern Art with Coffee...

  • Foundation for Educational Excellence's "Jewels & Jeans" Event

    Mar 03, 2018
    6:00 PM - 9:30 PM @ Country Club of Hilton Head

    The Beaufort County Foundation for Educational Excellence will host its annual “Jewels & Jeans” event on Saturday, March 3 from 6 to 9:30 p.m....

  • The John Denver Story

    Mar 03, 2018
    8:00 PM - 10:00 PM @ Tybee Post Theater

    You insisted, and now he’s back! William Florian, former lead singer with the famous ‘60s folk band, The New Christie Minstrels, is back at the...


Show More...

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Scenes of the South

Pia Camil Public Art Performance

Savannah Book Festival

Gullah Market and Celebration

Hearts for Heroes Gala

Lyn Avenue EP Release

Hearts for Healing Gala

Savannah Classic Cars Grand Opening

Pin Point's Art and Oysters

Two of our favorite things: art and fresh seafood!

Geek-End Weekend

Where will you find th creators, money makers, and artsy-tartsy types of the low-country all hanging out in one space? Only at Geek-End Weekend.

Southern Coast Heart Ball

Are we all making sure our Valentine's Day hearts are anatomically correct?! This past weekend was the 21st annual Southern Coast Heart Ball and we got that healthy blood flow going!