On Saturday, the A-Town Get Down Arts & Music Festival announced that its founder and producer, Tom Townsend, had passed away.
A St. Louis native, Townsend has made an insurmountable impact on the Savannah community over the past decade. Townsend founded the A-Town Get Down in 2011 in memory of his son, Alex, a SCAD student who tragically passed away in a car accident in 2010. With family and friends, Townsend also established the Alex Townsend Memorial Foundation in Alex’s honor, with the mission of inspiring youth through creative outlets.
“Part of the reason I wanted to do this was because I wanted to engage in Savannah instead of fear it the rest of my life,” Townsend said in 2012. “I wanted to find it as a joyful place, not a tragic one."
Through his efforts with the annual festival and foundation, Townsend has impacted the lives of countless people in the community, including thousands of local school children who have benefited from interactive, hands-on art experiences that were made possible through Townsend’s efforts.
The 2019 edition of the festival was postponded after Townsend recovered from a gunshot wound in his neck after he was shot and carjacked while in St. Louis in September 2018. “The support from the Savannah community has been extraordinary and heartfelt,” he said last year. “The love and support we have experienced over the last few months is a shining example of why Alex loved Savannah so much and why we will always try to give back to those who gave so much to us.”
Townsend leaves behind his wife, Jeanne and children, Laura and Nate. Funeral arrangements are pending and will be announced at a later date.