As the sun set on another Sunday, the parking lot in front of Village Burger filled with the sounds of drums, guitar, and young voices. VillageFest 2015, an annual concert featuring some of Dunwoody’s best young musicians, was organized by Mark Gallegos, local music teacher.
Mark Gallegos runs Dunwoody Music and strives to bring people together through music, much like sports unite a community. In addition to teaching, he runs a recording studio out of a rented home in the city of Dunwoody; he volunteers for Lemonade Days every spring, as well, to provide music to the annual festival. His positive repartee with his students is clear by the way they flock around him, and their excellent training is obvious by their level of musical talent and passion.
In its third year, VillageFest partnered with Village Burger, local businesses, and the community in order to raise money for two local causes, Camp Twin Lakes and Canine Assistants. For four hours, a steady stream of students graced the stage, from solo acoustic acts to 5 piece rock and roll bands. All of the equipment for VillageFest was either donated or loaned by local families and musicians. Each act had a 10-minute time slot in which they performed two to four songs, varying from modern pop to ‘70s folk to Christian rock. The audience brought their own lawn chairs and set them up in the parking lot, clapping and singing along to the music. Village Burger had a constant line, and owner Matt Gephardt was thrilled to sponsor VillageFest.
“We’re all about community involvement – schools, churches, events. We like to do as much as possible,” Gephardt said. “My two sons take lessons with Mark, so we’re a big supporter of Dunwoody Music.”
VillageFest clearly accomplishes Gallegos’ goal of uniting the community, as evidenced by the massive crowds that only grew as the night progressed.