If Athens, Georgia, is known for anything, it's known for its music. R.E.M. and the B-52s put Athens on the map in the 70's, and since then, dozens of other notable artists and bands have strong Athens ties, such as Lady Antebellum, Of Montreal, Widespread Panic, Danger Mouse, and even John Mayer, who was first signed at the AthFest festival in Athens in 2001. Just a few weeks ago, The Huffington Post ranked the University of Georgia third on its list of "Most Hipster Colleges," and UGA owes its ranking to its location smack-dab in the cultural center of the city.
So it was no wonder that the Athens community was absolutely devastated when the renowned and beloved Georgia Theatre was gutted by a fire on June 19, 2009. Originally built by the YMCA in 1889, the building was turned into the Georgia Theatre in 1977 and hosted its first show in 1978. The Georgia Theatre then began its 33-year journey as one of the premier music venues in Athens.
It took several years and a great deal of generosity to rebuild this historic landmark. Hundreds of local citizens and businesses contributed to the rebuilding of the theatre, as well as many well-known bands, such as the Avett Brothers and the Zac Brown Band. To raise the rest of the money that they need to keep going, the Georgia Theatre has partnered with The Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation, a not-for-profit whose mission is to restore buildings of historic and cultural significance.
But even though their rebuilding isn't finished, the wait for the reopening of the theatre is finally over. The Georgia Theatre will host its "Grand Opening" for a solid two weeks during August, featuring a wide range of bands and artists. No matter which show you attend, you'll be participating in a little piece of Athens and Georgia Theatre history.
From August 1 through August 14, the Georgia Theatre will host 11 shows. Check out the lineup below:
- Monday, Aug. 1 at 8:00 p.m. The Glands
- Tuesday, Aug. 2 at 8:00 p.m. Chuck Leavell and Friends w/ Randall Ramblett
- Wednesday, Aug. 3 at 8:00 p.m. FREE Open House w/ Kenosha Kid
- Friday, Aug. 5 at 8:00 p.m. Blackberry Smoke
- Saturday, Aug. 6 at 8:00 p.m. RJD2
- Monday, Aug. 8 at 8:00 p.m. Aquarium Rescue Unit featuring Col. Bruce Hampton, Jimmy Herring, Oteil Burbridge and Apt Q-258
- Tuesday, Aug. 9 at 8:00 p.m. J Roddy Walston and the Business & Reptar
- Wednesday, Aug. 10 at 8:00 p.m. Bela Fleck and the Flecktones - The Original Line-Up
- Thursday, Aug. 11 at 8:00 p.m. Big Boi
- Friday and Saturday, Aug. 12-13 at 8:00 p.m. Drive-By Truckers
- Sunday, Aug. 14 at 8:00 p.m. Gillian Welch
For more information about the Georgia Theatre, their rebuilding, show information or to purchase tickets, visit their website at GeorgiaTheatre.com.
What are you most looking forward to about the reopening of the Georgia Theatre? Let us know which shows you're going to or about your favorite memory from previous shows!