Each year the town of Villa Rica, Georgia, celebrates the legacy of Thomas A. Dorsey in June. This began in 1993 when civic leaders decided to commemorate his musical contributions in all of the genres that made him famous. June is designated as National Music Month, Many cities have music fests throughout the country. The Gospel Fest in Chicago which began in the 1980s was originally called the Dorsey Fest while Jane Byrne was the mayor. In subsequent years it simply became the Gospel Fest. It emphasis in the 21st century is contemporary gospel.
Villa Rica celebrates gospel, blues, and jazz – the genres that made Thomas Dorsey famous. He was best known as “Georgia Tom” and “Barrel-house Tom” for his blues and jazz contributions. His home church – Mt. Prospect- honors him as the “Father of Gospel Music” with a gospel program that has standing room only Saturday afternoon. The Thomas A. Dorsey Birthplace Choir sings his compositions. Guest musical artists also share their gospel songs.
The Mill is the gathering place for the mostly blues and jazz concerts. Families come to enjoy the music, food and fireworks. Local sponsors and city officials make this one of the annual festivals sponsored in Villa Rica, Georgia. The mill was named for Thomas A. Dorsey. It is complete with a band stage. A bronze portrait of Thomas Dorsey is displayed on a brick column. This is a must visit venue for those who love gospel, blues, and jazz.