Georgia Theatre: Rising from the Ashes

Hunter Brown
Guitarist for Atlanta/Bay Area's Sound Tribe Sector 9

Favorite memories of the Georgia Theatre:

My favorite memories of the Theatre would have to be hanging out under the marquee waiting to get into a show, that and walking on stage for the first time. I had seen so many shows there growing up it was surreal seeing the view from the other side.

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:

I think it adds another chapter to the mystique of the Theatre and the town, another strange episode in the long history of the Athens music scene. I can't imagine an Athens, Georgia without a GA Theatre. We want to help out in any way we can. We reached out to some friends who work there and let them know that we're here to help whenever things settle down. I know a lot of Athens musicians have come out to show support. I'm positive the Theatre will come back better than ever.

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

The Theater used to be a YMCA, and there's a pool under the stage in the basement. Not somewhere you'd want an after party, but a great place to scare your percussion player.

Hardy Morris
Lead singer of Augusta, GA's Dead Confederate

Favorite memories of the Georgia Theatre:

The first show I ever saw at the Georgia Theatre was in 1999. It was a memorial concert for a friend from Augusta named Lee Lawrence. The show featured Vic Chesnutt playing with members of Widespread Panic. Panic was HUGE at the time, so the place was absolutely nuts, and it was my first time seeing Vic Chesnutt play, which was amazing. That guy is like glue. You can't help but listen to every word.

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:

We are actually doing a benefit tonight [Tuesday, June 23] at The Melting Point with The Whigs. We got a call on our way back home Sunday from The Whigs guys asking if we wanted to play with them to benefit the Theatre, and, of course, we said, "Hell yes." As for this weekend, I think the Theatre will be in the back of a lot of people's minds. Hopefully they can raise some funds with all the people that will be around.

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

The past few years, there had been TONS of work going into making that place better. You can imagine, a venue of that age and size takes a lot to keep up, much less improve, and those guys had done so much. Not to mention the tragic loss of some staff members over the past few years as well. They've just been through a lot of shit, and I hope people realize it and want to help out.

Owen Gray
Former GA Theatre Intern and Street Team Coordinator, Nimbleslick Entertainment

Favorite memories of The Georgia Theatre:

Georgia Theatre - Athens, GA
There are way too many show memories that are extremely close to my heart. One that is more personal than others is playing harmonica on a few songs to a 600+ packed house with a band I used to manage, Rhythm Token. Another would be seeing Beck for two nights in June 2006, the first two nights of my employment. The Christmas parties were always great.

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:

I think that people attending AthFest this year will hold the general emotion of a lost friend, a void or hole in the scene hovering over it and people will be very sad and reflective, but nostalgic. I think this will lend itself to the realization that we have such an incredible music community and scene here, and it's more about the musicians and people here that make it what it is and we're all united and ready to rebuild the iconic Georgia Theatre, whatever it takes. Within minutes of finding out about the fire, literally while the building was in flames, Perpetual Groove and Nimbleslick Entertainment [the band's management organization] were already making moves to host a benefit for the displaced staff of the Theatre. Actions like this speak for themselves.

Moving forward we've taken a huge hit, but this fire is only a spark that has ignited the greater flame. What comes next and what is happening now is an incredibly vibrant community of artistic and eclectic individuals are rallying support and bridging differences to aid in the process of inevitably rebuilding such an incredible piece of musical history. It is music, after all, that transcends our common problems and brings people together. This is what the Georgia Theatre did for me and for generations of others. The Georgia Theatre hosted that intangible force of emotion that music brings to your soul. You better believe we're not going to give that up.

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

There is an old tunnel system that ran from the basement. The destination is extremely secret.

The Georgia Theatre, too many, is the musical pinnacle of their Athens experience and what music in this town means to them. A lot of kids come to UGA because of the Georgia Theatre and the scene that surrounds it. Its destruction is like a dagger to my musical and social heart. But, I have hope and faith in a better tomorrow. I'd like to extend my endless gratitude to Wilmot Greene and Scott Orvold, the men in charge who were the best bosses anyone could ever ask for as well as two of my closest friends. They put their heart and soul into making rock & roll possible day in and out, and truly helped facilitate the magic.

Matthew Rain
Lead singer, Twin Tigers

Favorite memories of The Georgia Theatre:

When I was 17 I got to see a surprise R.E.M. show. Amazing!

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 a huge hit to the music scene. A lot of top names will have to compete for the 40 Watt stage. Hopefully it can recover over the next year but it will never be the same.

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