JOHNS CREEK, Ga. — Saturday, Sept. 7, Northview High School will host the 9th annual Willstock, a music festival of teen bands to raise money for mental health awareness.
The festival is one of the signature events of the Will to Live Foundation, which was created by Johns Creek parents in 2010 after the suicide of their son, Will Trautwein. Will was 15 years old, a freshman and athlete at Northview High.
Will’s friends and family turned their pain into action by creating the foundation, which provides signs of suicide training to teachers across the country. The group also supports counseling nonprofits and grants scholarships.
Because of Will’s love of music, a Woodstock-style festival seemed like the perfect way to honor Will’s legacy while raising money and awareness for teen mental health, Will’s father John Trautwein said.
“All of my son Will’s best friends got together, and the first thing they wanted to do was a version of Woodstock,” John said. “This was literally within a week or two of when Will died. So as you can imagine, it’s very near and dear to me, but it’s also very near and dear to his friends.”
Several of Will’s friends will play at the festival this year. The 16 bands at the festival will include students from Northview, Johns Creek High School, Alpharetta High and Cambridge.
“All of these teenage bands, they’ll bring friends and families from all these schools, so it really becomes a community event,” John said. “It’s a very fun night. There’ll be anywhere from 700 to 1,000 kids on that football field, playing Frisbee, playing cornhole … it’s truly a festival atmosphere.”
Along with an annual 5K, the music festival is the biggest fundraiser for the Will to Live Foundation. The group estimates the concert will raise around $45,000 for mental health education and community programs.
“It’s money raised by kids, during fun events where they deliver hope to each other, and then it goes to educate the parents, teachers, coaches and trusted adults in their lives,” John said.
Willstock will be at Northview High School’s Football Stadium, 10625 Parsons Rd, Johns Creek, GA 30097. Gates open at 6:30 p.m., with music from 6 to 10 p.m. Tickets are $20 and available at will-to-live.org or at the gate. The ticket includes a Willstock T-shirt.