Georgia Theatre: Rising from the Ashes

Parker Gispert
Lead singer/guitarist for Atlanta/Athens, GA band The Whigs

Favorite memories of the Georgia Theatre:

Georgia Theatre - Proving it does snow in Athens
1) Seeing a Tony Clifton show last summer. It was the most entertaining, fucked up night of comedy and music I've ever seen.

2) The first night I ever came to Athens was for movie night with The Possibilities and there was a rumor that R.E.M. was going to come out. After a while at the show, the band did come out and did an hour-and-a-half set. After that I thought, "This is what every night's gonna be like," and of course that was not the case.

Effects the fire will have on this weekend's AthFest and the Athens music scene going forward, and what you plan on doing to help:

Hopefully in the long run it's gonna be a good thing; these sort of things have a way of bringing a town together. We got out of the studio on Monday completely spent from the recording process, but wanted to be prompt with the response so we, along with Dead Confederate, booked a benefit show at The Melting Point for Tuesday and it sold out in hours. People were willing to show their support even if they didn't like either band. It's been great to see the local scene come together.

Bruce Burch
Administrative Director, UGA Music Business Program

Favorite memories of the Georgia Theatre:

My favorite memory about the GA Theatre... there are too many memories from there for me to name one. I will say it's the first place I went when I made the decision to move back to Athens. I walked in the Theatre and met Wilmot Greene, told him I was moving back to Athens and wanted to live downtown to be right in the thick of the music scene. He proceeded to walk me over to his apartment right across the street and show me where he lived and I ended up moving right down the street from there. Wilmot immediately made me feel at home and his friendship and support of our program has been very gratifying. That is probably my favorite memory of the GA Theatre now that I think about it.

Effects the fire will have on this weekend's AthFest and the Athens music scene going forward, and what you plan on doing to help:

As far as the effect it will have on AthFest, obviously the event won't be the same without the Theatre. But fortunately, the Morton Theatre is a great venue and as they say in the music business "the show must go on".

Lastly, I want to pay tribute to Wilmot and Scott and the staff at the Theatre for all the great shows through the years. Sure hoping they will choose to rebuild as it is a true landmark musically and I would love to see the legacy continue.

Daniel Hutchens
Singer-guitarist for Athens, GA's Bloodkin

Favorite memories of the Georgia Theatre:

Daniel Hutchens & Mike Mills (R.E.M.)
By Jackie Jasper
I have to say that I have a number of great memories - Bloodkin opening for Widespread Panic there very early on in the late '80s was a real landmark for me. And then we just played there again, a benefit, a few weeks ago as "Bloodkin & Friends," and it was another great night with lots of the same people attending as were at that late '80's show. It was like old home week, really special and a cool kind of full circle. Hopefully not the last time we'll play the Theatre though.

As far as seeing other bands play there, I'll always remember The Replacements and Soul Asylum as two of the best straight-up rock shows I've ever witnessed.

Effects the fire will have on this weekend's AthFest and the Athens music scene going forward, and what you plan on doing to help:

It's obviously a sad situation, but events like this also galvanize communities into single-minded action, and Athens in particular is great about things like that. The music community here is definitely full-force ready to help and get the Theatre rebuilt, and I think those attitudes will be on display at AthFest.

As far as Bloodkin doing a benefit concert, we're definitely on call anytime Wilmot and the Theatre folks want us. I think we may do something a little later down the line, because things like this tend to be front-loaded as far as community involvement, and we'd like to help things keep rolling a little later down the road.

Is there anything else about the Theatre that the normal music fan may not know:

Everyone in the community knows pretty much what I know about the Theatre. It's housed a big, old chunk of the Athens Music Story through the years and if it's lost for good the Classic City will suddenly seem a lot less classic.

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