The Georgia college town of Athens and the entire Southern music scene suffered a huge loss late last week when the Georgia Theatre was gutted by a massive fire. The iconic downtown venue helped launch the careers of R.E.M. and Widespread Panic and has long been the centerpiece of Athens’ influential music scene. Built in 1890, the theatre’s historic stage has hosted a lengthy list of legends from the Ramones and Tom Waits to Dave Matthews and B.B. King. The cause of the fire is still unknown. The current owner plans to rebuild, despite recently spending $750,000 on major renovations to the venue. Read more here.

For info on upcoming benefits for the theatre click here.