I’ve been doing some local music research for a handful of friends as of late. Our music town’s appeal reaches far and wide and during this whole *waves hands* thing it is hard to get a lot of research done while you’re not in the physical location. So I thought I’d spend this post pointing y’all to a few resources that ARE available and online at the moment. Of note, this is not a complete list and I welcome any additions. The Georgia Historic Newspapers project is doing a lot of heavy lifting…
Flagpole Archives – Every issue of Flagpole is here from 1987 onward. These are physical scans of pages so searching by keyword isn’t going to work but if you have a general idea of what you’re looking for, you’ll do alright. Also of note, anything that appeared solely online before 2015 is GONE on the Fpole site. That includes the bulk of yours truly’s work. I’m sure you’re as gutted about that as I am.
The Red and Black – Even more impressive than our local alt weekly’s back catalog is the R&B archive. Student opinions on music are FASCINATING and often laughable but what can I say, I wrote for R&B once too. The really old stuff (1893!) is hit and miss but incredible to see. But if you’ve ever wondered what student reactions were to music happenings in town, look no further than this.
“Old School” Athens, GA 1806-2010 – Yes, a Facebook page isn’t exactly the best place to go through for accurate information but photos of music life abound and if you’ve ever wanted to know which local legends (that are on Facebook at least) went to which bars, here’s the place. I always tell interviewers to take talking to local folks with a grain of salt or two but maybe bring a salt shaker to this group. Tall tales abound!
Athens Music Scene group– Another Facebook group filled to the brim with photos, stories, and gossip from the local scene. The photos and old flyers are definitely my favorite part.
UGA Special Collections (especially the Brown Media Archive)– In the interest of being open with y’all, I should remind you that my better half works in the vault of this building and that I work with the Libraries through the Press. K? Disclaimer done. UGA Special Collections houses what remains of the Georgia Music Hall of Fame. It holds the Peabody Awards Collection. THIS is where the locals go to donate our tapes, flyers, band merch, etc. to know that it will be lovingly cared for and preserved. There’s also some real cool newsreel footage that you can sort through online. It should be one of your first stops if you’re researching Athens music or Athens anything, really.
So yeah, by no means exhaustive but a start. My big tip here would be ask a local if they know someone you should talk to. We ALL know someone you should talk to and almost everyone would be willing to introduce you to someone. And who knows, maybe you’ll find a new band to love while you’re looking through some of this.