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Grace Elizabeth Hale’s book Cool Town: How Athens, Georgia, Launched Alternative Music and Changed American Culture describes how Athens in the late 1970s and 1980s found itself at a new generation’s artistic vanguard, birthing bands like the B-52s, R.E.M., and other influential groups and becoming the most important model for the small, deeply local bohemias that together formed ’80s indie culture. In the years since, Athens has remained a musicians' town, a small community filled with people performing not just indie rock but also hip-hop and other genres.

Joining Hale for this online conversation will be Vanessa Hay, lead singer of Pylon; David Barbe, longtime Athens musician, producer, and director of UGAs Music Business Program; and Montu Miller, community activist and key organizer and promoter of the Athens hip-hop scene. The discussion will be moderated by Dave Marr, Athens musician and communications director of the Willson Center for Humanities and Arts.

This talk will be presented remotely via Zoom. Advance registration is required and is available here.

This event is part of the university's Spotlight on the Arts festival. More information on the 2020 Spotlight on the Arts festival, including a schedule of events, can be found at as well as on the Arts Council Facebook page (, Twitter feed (@UGA_arts) or Instagram (

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  • Joanna Lummus
  • Heather O Keefe
  • Lesly Gramajo

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