Above: The first studio recording that Widespread Panic ever made is up for auction to help rebuild the Georgia Theatre

The owners of Athens, GA’s Georgia Theatre have started to rebuild their historic music club. Work began on the theater on June 21, just over a year after a fire burned the famed music venue to the ground. The Georgia Theatre hosted early performances by Widespread Panic, R.E.M., the B-52s, Phish and many other bands.

Wilmot Greene, the theater’s owner, said the following in a statement:

It’s been a year since flames gutted the Georgia Theatre. Since then many of you have shared our sadness, offered your help and contributed to the rebuilding effort by drinking Terrapin’s Iron Tankard, buying tickets to benefit shows and generously opening your wallets to donate.

From the bottom of our wretched hearts, THANK YOU. Just over 365 days later, and a lot of soot and ash, we are close to securing financing and beginning the real work of restoration. We have raised over $160,000 to fill in the gap between a loan and rebuilding to modern day code, and we need to raise a lot more. It’s a huge undertaking, but we aren’t giving up.

As we acknowledge the anniversary of the fire, we will be auctioning treasures salvaged from the ashes like singed band posters and marquee letters, as well as items given by artists like a signed pair of Darius Rucker’s boots and Widespread Panic’s original master tape of their first demo recorded at the Theatre.

For 120 years, the building has marked the corner of Clayton and Lumpkin streets and now marks a hole in the Athens landscape. We hope you’ll bid on a piece of the history for the sake of the future.

Help us spread the word by forwarding this e-mail and sharing the link with friends. And of course, bid, donate, and show off your auction wins. Thanks for your support.