When the Georgia Theatre re-opened its doors in October 1989, it quickly became known as the home of Athens’ favorite, Widespread Panic. The band had outgrown their old home around the corner at the Uptown Lounge, making the coupling of Panic and the Georgia Theatre, with nearly ten times the capacity of the old Uptown (not to mention their world class sound system unlike any other in town), a match made in heaven. Panic would soon outgrow the Theatre as well, but not before playing 39 shows over four years, along with a number of legendary performances under such aliases as These Few Songs, Bar Tab, and brute.
At the time, the Theatre was, without rival, the finest musical venue in Athens. Over the years, the toll of playing host to hundreds of rowdy, drunken college kids every night left the Theatre run down and in serious need of a face lift. When Wilmot Greene took over the Theatre from the previous owners, he launched a campaign in late 2004 to renovate the glory of the venue’s past. Greene was successful in having the venue designated as an official historic building earlier this year, leading to the formation of the Friends of the Georgia Theatre, an organization dedicated the preserving the history of the property.
While it may have been Panic that first brought the attention of the nation to the Theatre, many other bands have since called the venue home. Perpetual Groove, amongst the most popular of these bands in recent times, are the first the band to sign on to donate their time and talents to headline the first of many events planned to benefit the Friends of the Georgia Theatre in its’ attempt to “bring back the art deco glory of the magnificent Georgia Theatre.”
Join Perpetual Groove at the Theatre on Wednesday, November 8 at 8 PM as the band donates their entire gate ($15 donation at the door) to help raise funds for the continued renovation of the property. Anyone that has visited the confines of the Theatre knows the venue brings out the best in a band, so expect a very special show.
Talks are also in the works of a tentative DVD release, Live from the Georgia Theatre, documenting the history of a venue that promises to soon regain its’ status amongst the nation’s premiere live music halls.