- The Georgia Theatre in downtown Athens, Ga.
In June 2009, a major fire nearly destroyed the Georgia Theatre at 215 N. Lumpkin St. in Athens, Georgia. Last week, after millions of dollars worth of repairs and renovatiosn, the revered music club reopens in style with a two week-long celebration that started on Mon. Aug. 1 and runs through Aug. 14.
One of the premier live music halls in the Southeast, the 122-year-old Athens landmark regularly booked top-selling national acts as well as popular local and regional bands like R.E.M., Widespread Panic, and the Drive-By Truckers. The old building featured a large stage and hall, a spacious balcony, and two bar areas. The revamped facility features a brand new PA, refurbished bathrooms, bigger dressing rooms, a new elevator, a three-tier balcony, VIP seating, and a new rooftop restaurant.
Co-owners Wilmot Greene and Scott Orvold hired local construction crews and carpenters to use as much salvaged wood and brick as possible to retain its original look and atmosphere. “We can feel Athens and the Southeastern music community getting excited with us,” Greene stated in a recent press release. “We can’t wait to unveil what we believe will be he finest music venue of our size in the region.”
The lineup for the opening weeks includes the Glands, Madeline, Chuck Leavell and Friends, Kenosha Kid, Blackberry Smoke, RJD2, J. Roddy Watson and the Business, Don Chambers, Béla Fleck and the Flecktones, Big Boi, Drive-By Truckers, and Gillian Welch.
Single show tickets for the two-week long celebration range in price from $10 to $30 and are available online at georgiatheatre.com. Click below on a short clip from the in-the-works documentary Athens Burning, a film by Eric Krasle, Jacob Kinsman, and Andrew Haynes that covers the 2009 blaze and the history of the venue.
Here’s the full grand opening schedule:
Aug. 1 — The Glands w/ Madeline, Immuzikation
Aug. 2 —Chuck Leavell and Friends w/ SNAP!
Aug. 3 — “open house” w/ Kenosha Kid
Aug. 5 — Blackberry Smoke
Aug. 6 — RJD2
Aug. 9 — J. Roddy Watson and the Business, Reptar, Don Chambers + Goat
Aug. 10 — Béla Fleck and the Flecktones
Aug. 11 — Big Boi
Aug. 12-13 — Drive-By Truckers
Aug. 14 — Gillian Welch