Alex Townsend was a graphic design major at SCAD when he died during his sophomore year. Since his death, his father, Tom Townsend, has been putting on the A-Town Get Down music festival every year in his son’s honor. “Even though he was in graphic design, he gravitated to music. It was so obvious that after the accident a music festival was the best way to remember him,” says Townsend, “He was thinking about going into audio engineering. He was a drummer and a piano player. He was also really into jam bands and going to festivals.”
Alex encouraged a strong sense of artistic inspiration in a lot of his peers, through genuine motivation and support. “He was so much for being a positive influence for the people at SCAD, and so the purpose of the festival was to have that same positive reinforcement,” Townsend said. The festival gives its goers a chance to express their artistic abilities and to try something new while interacting with the community differently. Artists have the chance to converse with other artists about their work or to exchange new techniques. “It needs to be an uplifting outlet for people to express themselves and are able to get constructive feedback from their peers,” says Townsend.
The festival also serves as an opportunity to give back to the artistic community by investing in the artist and after-school programs. “We raise the money to pay the artist. We donate to Loop It Up Savannah, which works in Savannah Public Schools for art programs, and to SCAD for SCAD scholarships,” says Townsend. Kids from the Loop It Up program come to the A-Town Get Down and participate alongside more mature artists, creating a wide range of ability and insight.
Even if you didn’t know Alex personally, there is something to be said about what his memory has inspired in the festival. “What somebody who didn’t know Alex can get out of the festival is the inspiration that he personally celebrated and the ability to do art and express yourself creatively,” said Townsend.
Discounts are available for SCAD students, so don’t miss out. Find out more here.
By Stephanie Avery