gatheater.jpgThe Georgia Theater, which hosted bands like REM and the B-52s in their early days, burned badly today. It was basically gutted by fire damage, though the building is still standing. It's located in the heart of downtown Athens, right near the University of Georgia campus.

Back in their early days, the B-52s paid the venue to be allowed to play there. The first show after the theater opened in 1978 was Sea Level, which formed out of remnants of the Allman Brothers Band. After REM formed in 1980 they played there regularly and still occasionally came in to play benefits and hold record release parties.

On a personal note, I'm a UGA alum. I walked by the Georgia Theater all the time; that big marquee is as much a staple of Athens as college football or drunken frat boys. The last time I was there was right before I graduated in 2006. I saw Collective Soul (it was awesome). It was a great little venue and really important to the history of alternative music. Here's hoping they'll be able to rebuild and restore it to its former self. Cheers. -Liza
(photo via www.dawgfan.net)

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