Listen Up / August 2011

Ben Folds

The Resurrection of the Theatre

The doors to a storied live music venue re-open this month. On Monday, August 1, two years after an early–morning fire decimated the Georgia Theatre in Athens, Ga., the 122–year–old venue will begin its two-week re–opening celebration.

“As construction nears completion we can feel Athens and the Southeastern music community getting excited with us,” according to Georgia Theatre co–owner Wilmot Greene. “We can’t wait to unveil what we believe will be the finest music venue of our size in the region.”

“It’s exciting to give back to the people and the community that have been so supportive of us,” adds Scott Orvold, co-owner and talent buyer for the historic venue. “The light at the end of the tunnel is becoming blinding and it looks glorious.”

Although the Georgia Theatre has stood in the heart of Athens since 1889, it has been used as a concert venue only since 1978 after opening with a performance by the fusion-rock band Sea Level, developed by Chuck Leavell. It’s only fitting that, for the re–opening celebration, Chuck Leavell will be among the diverse range of talent that will be the first to showcase the rebuilt venue. The Georgia Theatre has played host to internationally renowned artists like The Police, R.E.M., the Ramones, Beck, Dave Matthews, Widespread Panic and Tom Waits.  In 2004, Greene took over the theatre and, along with business partner Orvold, transformed it into one of the Southeast’s premiere music destinations. In 2009, fire gutted the venue, but it now has reopened thanks to the generous support of the Athens community, music lovers, artists, and groups like The Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation and Terrapin Beer Company.

While Orvold and Greene worked to preserve the setup and feel of the original theatre, they welcomed the opportunity to make improvements, including a larger stage, the addition of a third viewing level, bigger dressing rooms and bathrooms for the artists, and a capacity increase to over 1,000. While these changes are noticeable, patrons will be greeted by the original marquee and brick walls.  The enhanced setting also features wood reclaimed from the original structure that will be used for the bars and as decorative pieces throughout.  The new building was designed in an “industrial deco” form, creating a modern feel with industrial elements and sweeping curves.  There is also a new open–air rooftop restaurant and bar open to everyone.

The arrival of the new Georgia Theatre is one of the most talked-about events in the region, and the impact that the venue will have, not only in Athens, but also in the
Southeast, will be felt for years to come.

Here are just a few of the shows that you can check out this month at the Georgia Theatre:

August 1…………The Glands, with Madeline.

Post-show free dance party with Immuzikation

August 2 ………..Chuck Leavell and Friends, with SNAP!

August 3 ………..Open House with Kenosha Kid

August 5……….. Blackberry Smoke

August 6 ………..RJD2

August 8 …………Aquarium Rescue Unit

August 9…………J. Roddy Watson and the Business,

Don Chambers and Goat

August 10………..Bela Fleck and the Flecktones

August 11…………Big Boi

August 12………..Drive-By Truckers

August 13………..Drive-By Truckers

August 14………..Gillian Welch

*Tickets for all shows available at

On the Track to Succeed

Chattanooga is about to get a serious shot in the musical arm. A new concert venue will open next month and, by the looks of it, Track29 will change the musical landscape of the city. Located in the heart of downtown, in the historic Chattanooga Choo-Choo campus, this modern facility officially opens September 1 with a show from country music star Jamey Johnson.

“We want to offer Chattanooga a higher level of entertainment in the form of national touring acts that typically overlook the area due to the lack of a proper performance facility,” Track29 developer Adam Kinsey says. “Other Southeastern cities attract current bands and larger crowds because they have facilities similar to Track29.”

Track29 was designed to provide an intimate concert experience for national acts, from up-and-comers to larger bands. The stage and sound and lighting rigs are mobile within the facility’s 22,000 square feet to scale the room to match the size of each show’s crowd—anywhere from 1,000 up to 1,800 attendees. That is a very attractive feature for touring acts and their agents.

“We’ve done a lot of research on similar facilities in cities as big as Atlanta down to towns the size of Asheville,” Track29 developer Josh McManus says. “They are all having tremendous success not only booking bigger and better bands but also attracting tourists due in large part to the exceptional experience that can be expected from the performance venue. If you can see your favorite band in an intimate setting with great sound and lighting, a 100-mile drive and overnight stay isn’t a problem. And that’s good for Chattanooga’s economy.”

In researching Track29, developers Kinsey and McManus spent 18 months getting input from touring performers like Drive-By Truckers front-man Patterson Hood and studying similar facilities, such as the Tabernacle in Atlanta, Valarium in Knoxville, WorkPlay in Birmingham and The Orange Peel in Asheville, recently named by Rolling Stone magazine as one of the best live venues in America.

“In addition to a great concert experience for the fan, we found these venues are able to attract bands in part because of what they offer a hard-working touring act as well,” Kinsey says. “Track29 will have comfortable dressing rooms with couches, showers, washers and dryers, Internet access and other perks to encourage bands to ask their booking agents to stop here. Word spreads fast in the touring community, and we don’t expect getting good entertainment to be a problem at all.”

Kinsey and McManus selected Birmingham’s TicketBiscuit as their ticketing and event marketing partner: “We chose TicketBiscuit due to their dedicated ownership and management team, experienced technical and marketing staff, innovative social media tools and evidence that they are able to adapt with the ever changing online and physical ticketing landscape.”

Bonnaroo organizers AC Entertainment will be enlisted to book national touring acts. Bonnaroo veteran Paul Gussack and DV Communications will provide sound and lighting services.

“Chattanooga is long overdue for a professional performance venue of this caliber,” McManus said. “We’re sure Track29 will set the new gold standard.”

Here are a few of the shows that Track29 has on the books starting in September:

September 1…………….Jamey Johnson
September 9…………….Corey Smith
September 24…………..M Ward
October 4 ……………….Ghostland Observatory
October 7………………..Marc Broussard
*Tickets for all shows available at:

And don’t forget what’s happening this month in Birmingham, at a music venue near you…

August 6………….Carbon Leaf & Matthew Mayfield


August 11…………Gillian Welch & Dave Rawlings

August 20…………Ben Folds , Alys Stephens Center
August 28………..Matisyahu,  Alys Stephens Center
September 1……..Chris Robinson’s Brotherhood,


Todd Coder is the Director of Music Account Development at TicketBiscuit.  He is also the

talent buyer at WorkPlay Theatre and for The Hangout Music Festival.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply