After a late-night fire ripped through a small shopping center in downtown Cumming in early January, destroying several local businesses, members of the Georgia music community have united to help one local business owner start over.
On Feb. 8, a benefit concert will be held for the local record store and venue, His Rock Music, which was just days away from opening when the store and its items were completely destroyed by fire.
His Rock, which operated in Forsyth County for many years, was a mainstay of the local music community, so the loss has hit many people very hard, according to Our Rock Benefit Concert organizer Rachael Nintzel.
"At first I was heartbroken, but then I immediately set this into action. I was like, 'We have to do something … We can't just be sad about this,’" Nintzel said. "[His Rock owner Bob Johnson] was like a second father to me and he was like a second father to a lot of these young musicians that just wanted a safe place to hone their talents.”
According to Nintzel, the benefit concert will take place at Ponce De Leon Music Center in Cumming, from 3-10:30 p.m. on Feb. 8, and will feature 12 different acts from acoustic artists and full bands.
Acts include 415, Vinyl Gypsies, Letter Bomb, North Main, Dart, Torn Soul, Student Driver, Great Wide Nothing, Buice, Izzie Graham, Aaron Richard and Victoria Holleman.
The event will also feature food from Big D’s BBQ, a silent auction, tarot readings and a donation table for people to donate vinyl albums to help His Rock get back on its feet.
Entry fee for the concert is $20, but people can get $2 off their ticket for each vinyl donation they make, Nintzel said.
After the concert was announced, His Rock owner Bob Johnson said that he has been amazed by the outpouring of love and support that has come from the loss.
"It's been awesome how much the community and my church and the kids who used to come to His Rock and the bands have reached out trying to help," Johnson said.
Johnson said that in just a few short days after the fire, the community had donated thousands of dollars to help him recover from the fire, and hundreds of albums, CDs and DVDs have been donated to him by people that were moved by his story.
"The community in Cumming is one that takes care of its own, but a community of musicians is truly a force to be reckoned with," Nintzel said.
Nintzel said that people interested in volunteering at the concert, becoming a sponsor of the event or learning about donating can find them on Facebook at Our Rock: His Rock Benefit Concert or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
The GoFundMe set up to help His Rock can be found here.Although the fire’s point of origin and cause have not been reported yet, authorities said last week that investigators have confirmed the fire was not intentionally set.