As college students, it’s easy to get wrapped up in campus and school-related activities. We have more assignments than we can possibly fit into a 24 hour day, and when we aren’t studying we are likely watching Netflix, hanging out with friends, or working. The Athens that we spend the majority of our time in is the MLC, the Tate Student Center, and Sanford Stadium. We have our favorite restaurants: Taqueria del Sol for some good Mexican food, Last Resort Grill if we want some fire cheesecake, and Little Italy or the Grill when it’s after midnight. When we hear “Athens” these are the images that typically come to mind- symbols of our home away from home. Athens is known for many things, but if you subtract the University of Georgia from the equation, what are you left with? I’ll give you three clues: R.E.M., the B-52’s, and Widespread Panic.
Whether we are conscious of it or not, Athens is known for it’s one of a kind music scene. With multiple bands reaching international acclaim, Athens has become a top destination for musicians seeking inspiration and fame. The Athens Music History Walking Tour, sponsored by the Athens Convention and Visitors Bureau, goes to infamous music venues like The Georgia Theatre, and has become a tourist attraction. Hidden amongst downtown shops, bars, and restaurants, the venue attracts major music talent.
The Georgia Theatre initially opened as a music venue in 1978. Soon after it’s opening, the theatre was operated as a movie theatre until it was reestablished as a music venue in 1989. Pylon was the first band to perform at the Georgia Theatre, and in the coming years the venue hosted many famous bands like Widespread Panic, Beck, Dave Matthews Band, and R.E.M., just to name a few. After a fire destroyed the roof and part of the building in 2009, the people of Athens and artists who felt connected to the theatre came together to restore the building. The renovation process was a success, and the theatre was brought back to its former glory.
Since the restoration, the theatre has maintained a packed schedule. Not a week goes by where the stage isn’t occupied and the stands aren’t full of eager listeners. Thousands of bands have come through the venue, each leaving their own mark on the music scene and bringing positive vibes to those who attend their concerts.
This Friday, February 15th, 2019, Walk the Moon is coming to The Georgia Theatre. The American rock band is based out of Cincinnati, Ohio and derives their name from The Police song “Walking on the Moon”. Their debut album, released in 2010, was wildly successful and their song “Anna Sun” was regularly played on Alternative radio stations. In January 2019 they released a new single, “Timebomb”, which immediately topped the Alternative genre music charts. When tickets went on sale for their Georgia Theatre performance, they sold out almost immediately. Don’t worry, if you weren’t lucky enough to purchase a ticket before they sold out, you can still find some on resale sites like Stubhub for a little over face value.
Although it is definitely challenging to balance a social life with studying, every UGA student should take advantage of the opportunity that they have to experience the Athens music scene. It’s easy to get sucked into the “campus life”, but our college town has so much more to offer us. There is a culture of Athens that some Bulldogs may never experience, which is a shame. Popular artists like Walk the Moon aren’t the only performers who step onto the Athens stages, there are smaller, local bands who add to the foundation of the unique music culture. Whether you go to The Georgia Theatre, AthFest, or The Foundry, make sure that you see at LEAST one Athens show before you graduate.