Downtown Music - Final (4)

laurapholland

DOWNTOWN ATHENS

C O N N E C T I N G U S A C R O S S T I M E T H R O U G H M U S I C

A P R O F I L E O F C O N T E M P O R A R Y M U S I C V E N U E S


index

The World Famous

LiveWire Athens

The Foundry

Georgia Theatre

The Globe

Low Yo-Yo Stuff

Musician's Warehouse

Wuxtry Records

Chick Music

Nuçi's Space

Little Kings Shuffle Club

Highwire Lounge

40 Watt Club


e x t e n d e d

h o u r p u b &

l o c a l v e n u e

T H E

W O R L D

F A M O U S

G O O D S T E W A R D S O F D O W N T O W N A T H E N S


"BEING A SUCCESFUL

PLACE DOWNTOWN IS

A SIDE EFFECT OF

BEING DOWNTOWN."

When David Eduardo decided to create his

next job instead of preparing to interview

for his next job, he never expected that

the Athens community would believe so

strongly in his business. When The World

Famous opened in February 2013, they

were one of the only downtown locations

to offer entertainment, a full bar, and

restaurant service until 2 AM,

exemplifying David's desire to create one

of the most open and accessible locations

in Athens. Over the last five years, The

World Famous has become an Athens

institution, a permanent fixture in the

downtown Athens landscape that has

fulfilled David's vision of serving as "a

watering hole for hardcore regulars,"

paying a living wage, and being

comfortable for a wide spectrum of

Athenians.

Inside the Venue:

200 shows per year

David is primary booking contact

Popular for local bands

Host venue for local festivals

Presents all types of shows and events:

burlesque Shakespeare puppetry,

singer/songwriters, indie bands,

comedians, a monthly hip-hop series, & more


L I V E W I R E

A T H E N S

L O V E M U S I C


In addition to its unique downtown space with a private outdoor garden

patio, a pub room, and open stage room, LiveWire prides itself on its

event consulting services. Clients like Wildwood Revival, Grindhouse,

Savannah Summer Solstice, and others speak to their event service

quality. Their experience working with musicians like Moon Atlas, the

Emmitt-Nershi Band, the String Cheese Incident, George Porter Jr.,

Tim Reynolds, The Wood Brothers, Pretty Lights, Stanton Moore,

RJD2, Widespread Panic, Perpetual Groove, and Curtis Bruce

Hampton demonstrates that these brothers know the intricacies of what

makes a good performance.

Since the beginnings of LiveWire in the

early 2000s, brothers Brendan, Andrew,

and Daniel have shaped their business

around their values, extending their

“LiveWire Family” to their employees and

the musicians they host. LiveWire Athens

opened in 2015 after the Robertsons had

accumulated years of experience, industry

knowledge, and an expansive network of

musicians. While they work collaboratively,

each brother has a particular skillset that

he offers the business: Brendan, the

original inspiration for their venture into

music business, is a sound expert with a

degree in sound design and a professional

vitae dating back to his teenage years;

Andrew identifies himself as the mixologist

of the trio, overseeing the bar operations of

their event services; and Daniel, identified

by his two brothers as the one to “lead the

hell out of us,” is the general manager who

oversees booking, finance, and new

ventures for the business.

L O V E M U S I C

The Robertson family motto,

into every aspect of their lives,

seeps

them to remain highly involved

encouraging

in every aspect of the local music scene.


T H E

F O U N D R Y


As the first Graduate Hotel in the country, the

Graduate Athens is the poster child for the

company's boutique hotel experience. Boasting an

on-site coffee shop called IronWorks, spa services,

and its historic suites, the Graduate Athens is the

sole location within the company with its own live

music venue, the Foundry. Their experiences

include collaborations with other area organizations

to offer BrewFests, family-friendly Munster Mashes,

and special graduation brunches for families.

Inside the Venue:

Free, on-site parking

$10-15 average ticket price

Multiple shows per week

7 PM start times on weeknights

8 or 9 PM start time on weekends

Caters to post-college Athenians

Typical bands performing at the Foundry include

Americana, jazz, bluegrass, singer/songwriters,

and tribute bands, but the venue is also dedicated

to expanding its bookings and includes storytellers

and comedians in the schedule. This event space

is capable of holding multiple events at the same

time, and the main space at the Foundry can be

converted from a space that is sitting-room only, to

a bar-style performance, to an open dance floor.


THE GEORGIA THEATRE

a n A t h e n s i c o n


seat multi-

1028

music venue

level

to

Opportunity

"half-

perform

with fewer

shows"

seats

area helps

Rooftop

smaller and

build

bands local

bands like

Current

Simpson,

Sturgill

Stapleton,

Chris

Alabama

the

and the

Shakes,

Truckers

Drive-By

their start here

got

Beskin has been the General Manager at the

Drew

Theatre since 2014. On a busy night, Drew

Georgia

a staff of over 25 people, not including the

manages

musicians and their personnel. While the

performing

employs booking agents, Drew guides the

Theatre

of the booking as relationship building with

direction

The profit they make from their bars gives

bands.

the ability to choose to book both big and small

them

working to maintain relationships with smaller

bands,

as they build their audience over time and

bands

them multiple opportunities to perform

offering

of whether the band sells out the show

regardless

other venues in Athens, the Theatre prides

Unlike

on serving as a "Mason-Dixon Line" of sorts for

itself

Athens between the predominantly

downtown

areas of the East end of downtown and

undergraduate

primarily postgraduate areas of the West end. The

the

tries to find performers who are attractive for

venue

types of Athenians, transient college students

all

local residents alike.

and

Georgia Theatre

The

bands to

attracts

because of its

Athens

and

identity

to Athens'

connection

history.

music

during their first performance.

they host parties, weddings, and charity

While

The Theatre is first and foremost a music

events,

and they offer a wide variety of shows.

venue,

are owned by the entertainment company,

They

Entertainment (who also owns the Variety

Agon

in Atlanta and produces shows at

Playhouse

West in Austin). In addition to this

Terminal

Agon also produces shows in Athens at the

venue,

Watt and the Classic Center for bands who

40

a different type of venue experience for

want

their audience.

the

Inside

Venue:


The Globe

Tucked away on the corner of Clayton and Lumpkin, the Globe is an Athens landmark.

When it first opened in the 1980s, it was the only location of its kind downtown,

and community members came out to help create the unique interior. Started by

university librarians, the Globe typically hires graduate and doctoral students,

lending its atmosphere a uniquely intellectual vibe. The environment mirrors a

European public-house open to everyone in the community; musicians like REM and

other Athens locals have always considered this a favorite location. They

offer regularly scheduled jazz and Irish music, and their upstairs stage is also

available for playwrights and comedians.


OWNER TODD PLOHARSKY HAS COLLECTED

VINYL FOR MANY YEARS. WHAT YOU SEE

IN HIS STORE JUST TOUCHES THE TIP OF

THE ICEBERG WHEN IT COMES TO THE

Yo-Yo

Low

Stuff

EXTENT OF HIS COLLECTION. THE STORE IS

STOCKED WITH BOTH SPECIALTY ITEMS

THAT HAVE BEEN OUT OF PRINT FOR

YEARS AND CURRENT MUSIC.

THEIR ORIGINAL LOCATION WAS RIGHT

NEXT TO THE 40 WATT, AND NOW THEY

ARE JUST DOWN THE STREET ON

WASHINGTON. THE STAFF SAYS THAT

BEING DOWNTOWN OFFERS THEM ACCESS

TO HEAVY FOOT TRAFFIC.


MUSICIAN'S

WAREHOUSE

Ed Magruder opened Musician's Warehouse in 1995 as a one-stop, brick and

mortar shop for all bands' music needs. The shop recently relocated back to

downtown Athens and enjoys being in the center of the music scene again,

where bands and musicians have been able to discover them organically.


h e i r c u r r e n t l o c a t i o n o n t h e c o r n e r o f

t

l a y t o n a n d C o l l e g e .

C

wuxtry

records

u x t r y o p e n e d 4 2 y e a r s a g o a s a m e d i a

W

t o r e . T h e o w n e r s D a n a n d M a r k c a m e

s

r o m I l l i n o i s t o s e t u p a s t o r e i n A t l a n t a .

f

h e y s t a r t e d t h e i r s t o r e i n A t h e n s a s a

T

d a n d r e c o r d s t o r e , a d d i n g B i z a r r o

c

u x t r y C o m i c s u p s t a i r s . T h r o u g h o u t t h e

W

i s t o r y o f t h e b u s i n e s s , t h e y h a v e a l m o s t

h

l w a y s b e e n d o w n t o w n ( w i t h o n l y a b r i e f

a

t i n t o n B a x t e r S t r e e t ) , f i r s t s t a r t i n g o n

s

r o a d , m o v i n g t o J a c k s o n , a n d n o w a t

B

e i n g d o w n t o w n i s a n a s s e t f o r W u x t r y .

B

h e y a r e c l o s e t o t h e u n i v e r s i t y , a n d a s a

T

e s u l t , t h e y a r e a p a r t o f t h e c r e a t i v e

r

c e n e ( w h i c h s t a r t e d w h e n t h e U G A

s

a m a r D o d d S c h o o l o f A r t w a s

L

o w n t o w n ) . T h e r e i s n a t u r a l l y l o t s o f

d

r e a t i v e b a c k a n d f o r t h b e t w e e n t h e

c

t u d e n t s a n d b u s i n e s s e s . R o b e r t l o v e s

s

h a v i n g s t u d e n t s d o w n t o w n .

h e s t o r e ’ s m o d e l i s s y m b i o t i c w i t h t h e

T

o m m u n i t y : t h e y s e l l t h e i t e m s t h e y g e t

c

f r o m p e o p l e a n d v i c e v e r s a .

u x t r y c a p i t a l i z e s o n t h e c u r r e n t

W

e n a i s s a n c e o f v i n y l . W i t h t h e r i s e o f

r

o l l e c t o r s i t e m s a n d f a n d o m , W u x t r y h a s

c

e e n a b l e t o t a r g e t a n e w g e n e r a t i o n o f

b

y o u n g e r , g r o u p - o r i e n t e d c o l l e c t o r s .

u x t r y r e c o g n i z e s t h a t t h e y w i l l h a v e t o

W

o n t i n u e t o m e e t p e o p l e ’ s m u s i c a n d

c

o l l e c t i o n n e e d s a s t e c h n o l o g y c h a n g e s

c

h e w a y w e r e c e i v e o u r s o u n d s , a n d t h e y

t

a r e u p f o r t h e n e w o p p o r t u n i t i e s a h e a d .


CHICK MUSIC

SHEPHERD FAMILY-OWNED

THE

Started by Lewis Chick in 1942, Chick Music is the oldest music supply store in Athens. After working as a piano tuner for

Mr. Chick, Billy Shepherd bought the business in 1946, and his family has owned and operated the store ever since. Though

they've jumped around to different locations, they have always operated in downtown Athens. Chick is one of the only

places that offers space for classes and practices and a recital space in addition to their instrument and music sales. In fact

before the B-52s' last tour, they rented out the upstairs recital space to practice their new music, thus giving the room the

title "The B-52s Room." Chick is truly a local-family operation: Billy's wife Anne (who is 88) still comes to the store every day,

and their four children - Steve, Vann, Christy, and Carol - now run the family business.


ADDA'S BLUE SKY CONCERTS


Nuci's Space

Inspiring a culture free of stigma


For 18 years, Bob Sleppy has served as the Executive Director of Nuçi's

Space, an oasis of support for local musicians. After her son and

Athens music rising star, Nuçi, took his own life in the fall of 1996,

Linda Phillips worked with Sleppy to create the space that has provided

mental health screenings and services to over 2000 musicians in

Athens. In honor of Nuçi's lost life, Nuçi's Space offers a community

gathering space for all musicians, including those battling for their

mental health. Through providing rehearsal spaces and hosting other

events, Nuçi's Space builds relationships with artists so that they can

connect with the mental health services that they need. Nuçi's Space is

the perfect example of a collaborative community icon - connecting

businesses, doctors, and creatives with one another. They host a

variety of events and fundraisers, including a successful Camp Amped

for teenagers, designed to connect kids with the space and to remove

the stigma of mental health services from an early age.

musicians in Athens served

2000

musicians served annually

250

counseling/psychiatric visits

2500

annually

subsidized

Over $1 million spent in care


L i t t l e K i n g s

S h u f f l e C l u b


“Athens doesn’t just rest on its

history; people move to Athens to

become a part of the music story.”

When Joey Tatum opened Manhattan Bar and

Cafe 23 years ago, he was making a choice to

create work for himself. After saving up

money for a “war chest” to purchase his own

space, he bought the Manhattan location with

the intention of creating an alternative space

to what was then available downtown. He

wanted it to be a locals' joint and that is

exactly what it became as bands used the spot

not only as a place to play but also as a

meeting space.

After Joey purchased the Little Kings space

through an auction from the city in 2000, he

moved most of the music opportunities to the

new space because he thought it was better

suited for shows. Little Kings and Manhattan

are crossover in many ways, but they tend to

serve different populations: some people are

dedicated loyalists to Manhattan and some

are dedicated loyalists to Little Kings.

If people want to play at Little Kings, they

just ask. The booking here is organic and

locally driven. Manhattan has participated in

AthFest since the beginnings, and now

participates in all of the local downtown

festivals: AfthFest, Americana Music Festival,

SlopFest, PopFest, and SurfStomp,which

showcases Joey's boats and outdoor seating.

Joey knows that Athens has a great

music history, but the “now Athens”

music scene is still super vibrant,

which Joey knows first-hand because

most of his employees are musicians

and have bands.

When Joey got going, downtown was

the place to be, and he believes that

the success of other areas of Athens

has expanded out from this place.

Downtown is “bursting at its seams”

and overflowing into other spaces in

Athens-Clarke County.


HIGHWIRE

LOUNGE


I N S I D E :

- Lounge atmosphere

- Owned and operated in consortium

with South Kitchen and Trappeze Pub

- Managed by Athens native and

Director of Operations, Aaron

Wallace

- Located on Hull Street since 2011

- Renovated by locally owned Oneda

Woodworks in 2013

- Local artists showcase Live Jazz

every Friday and Saturday

- Performers include Rand Lines,

Jeremy Raj, and Greg Hankins

- Silent Disco nights

Highwire’s focus is fresh, craft cocktails - an expansion of Trappeze’s focus on

quality beer. Highwire was created “for the love of the drink.” After trying

several different music venue strategies, they are now clear that they are “not

a music venue” but rather an organic space for playing music. Jazz is their

niche; they offer Live Jazz every Friday and Saturday night that is free to the

public. The artists are always local, though the group of musicians changes

every week (Rand Lines, Jeremy Raj, and Greg Hankins).

But they are always open to new ideas. Their approach that business never

moves beyond an experiment allowed them to try a suggestion from a

bartender for a silent disco night that has turned into a huge success.

Highwire loves being downtown. They are involved in downtown and want

downtown to thrive because they remember when it didn't, and they believe

that Athens and the surrounding community is immensely better because of

the success of the central business district.


T H E 4 0 W A T T C L U B

2 8 5 W W A S H I N G T O N S T R E E T


Barrie loves directing

bands and visitors to

other “jewels of

downtown.” Barrie

knows that Athens

will continue to grow

because of the quality

of life that it offers,

and she is excited

to see how

entertainment and the

arts will be involved

in that growth.

B a r r i e B u c k h a s o w n e d t h e 4 0 W a t t s i n c e t h e l a t e 8 0 s . S h e w o r k e d a s a

b a r t e n d e r t h e r e a t a p r e v i o u s l o c a t i o n , a n d w h e n t h e o w n e r a n d m a n a g e r

l e f t , s h e a n d f e l l o w c o w o r k e r ( n o w C o u n t y C o m m i s s i o n e r ) J a r e d B a i l e y

r e o p e n e d t h e s p a c e b a c k i n i t s o r i g i n a l l o c a t i o n o n C l a y t o n S t r e e t . T h e y

m o v e d t o t h e i r c u r r e n t l o c a t i o n o n t h e c o r n e r o f W a s h i n g t o n S t r e e t t o

e x p a n d t h e i r s p a c e a s t h e i r p r e s e n c e i n c r e a s e d o n t h e t o u r i n g c i r c u i t . W h e n

t h e y m o v e d t o t h e W e s t S i d e i n ‘ 9 1 , t h e r e w a s n o t h i n g o n t h a t s i d e o f

d o w n t o w n , b u t n o w t h e s p a c e i s b o o m i n g . B a r r y s e e s t h e 4 0 W a t t a n d

s u r r o u n d i n g s t o r e s a n d r e s t a u r a n t s a s a c o n n e c t i o n b e t w e e n t h e d o w n t o w n

c o r r i d o r s a n d t h e r e s i d e n t i a l a r e a s j u s t o u t s i d e o f t h e d i s t r i c t t o t h e w e s t .

J a r e d B a i l e y h a s s i n c e l e f t t h e b u s i n e s s , b u t B a r r i e s t i l l o w n s t h e v e n u e

a n d m a n a g e s a s m a l l c o r e o f e m p l o y e e s . T h e y l o v e h a v i n g i n t e r n s f r o m

U G A w h o h e l p i n t r o d u c e t h e m t o n e w a n d d i f f e r e n t m u s i c b a s e d o n t h e

i n t e r n s ’ o w n t a s t e s . V e l e n a V e g o h a s w o r k e d a s t h e 4 0 W a t t ’ s b o o k i n g

a g e n t f o r t h e p a s t 2 5 y e a r s , a n d s h e a n d B a r r i e c u l t i v a t e r e l a t i o n s h i p s w i t h

b a n d s a n d a g e n t s t o k e e p t h e m c o m i n g b a c k t o d o w n t o w n A t h e n s . T h e r e

a r e m a n y a r t i s t s a n d a g e n t s w h o t h e s t a f f l o o k f o r w a r d t o h o s t i n g a n d

c a t c h i n g u p w i t h b e c a u s e o f t h e r e l a t i o n s h i p t h e y ’ v e s u s t a i n e d f o r m a n y

y e a r s . T h e 4 0 W a t t h o s t s e v e r y t y p e o f m u s i c a n d t h e v e n u e f e e l s

c o m f o r t a b l e f o r a w i d e v a r i e t y o f b a n d s . T h e i d e a l w e e k f o r t h e 4 0 W a t t i s a

d i f f e r e n t g e n r e o f m u s i c p l a y i n g e v e r y n i g h t , w i t h d i f f e r e n t f a n s e v e r y n i g h t .


Athens Downtown Development Authority

November 2017

All photos were taken by the ADDA or

provided by the businesses

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