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Historic Athens music venue gutted in fire

Georgia Theatre burns to the ground

Going bald hit R.E.M.'s Michael Stipe hard. An intensely shy individual, in the early days his floppy fringe gave him a prop to hide behind on stage. "The hair helped a lot to hide who I was," he once said in an interview. "So that went away, and things got a little more difficult." Pic: Rex Features
The Georgia Theatre in Athens, GA has been gutted in a fire which ripped through the building in the early hours of this morning (June 19).

The venue which has played host to the likes of R.E.M, Tom Waits, Dave Matthews and many more, went up in smoke at around 6.50am, and 50 firefighters fought the blaze until bringing it under control at 8am.

The cause of the fire is as-yet unknown, but lightning struck the area several times last night.

The current owner, Wilmot Greene had been renovating the art deco building since buying it five years ago. He told AJC.com that the work was almost completed.

“It was almost completely done. It was really beautiful. It was in better shape than it’s ever been in,” he said.

11 acts were due to perform at the theatre as part of the annual AthFest music festival next weekend. Alternative venues are being considered for the shows.

No one was injured in the blaze.

--By our New York staff.
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