House Party History of Athens’ Musical Greats on Display in UGA Libraries Exhibit 

Submitted by Camie on

Photos and a guitar on display as party of an exhibit on House Parties in AthensTake a tour through some of the legendary locations of Athens’ house parties, at the University of Georgia Special Collections Libraries this fall.  

House Party: Digging Into House Show History in Athens, a new exhibit on display from the Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library, showcases the residences that hold a special place in the city’s music history, from the decommissioned church building where Peter Buck and Michael Stipe lived as students when they began making music together to The Lounge at the Rivers Edge Apartments that became a home base for the Athens hip-hop scene. 

"The iconic Athens Music scene would not exist as we know it if not for the tradition of raucous parties that continue to showcase underground music in non-traditional spaces. Without the profit motive of mainstream venues, these parties allow scenes to grow organically and blur the lines between performers and fans. This exhibit allows visitors to experience this history through a rare collection of objects from the Georgia Music Collections and on loan from community members” said Ryan Lewis, Georgia music curator for the Hargrett Library.  

Photographs, fliers, musical instruments, and other memorabilia trace the house party scene through time, even giving a nod to the 18th century colonists who danced the minuet in private gatherings and much later to the fraternity parties that offered a stage for live band performances as early as the 1940s. 

Photos and a brick from the decommissioned church where Peter Buck and Michael Stipe began making music togetherAlums and fans alike can celebrate the most popular non-traditional musical stomping grounds of the 1970s, ‘80s, ‘90s, and ‘00s which launched the careers of The B-52’s, R.E.M., the Elephant 6 Collective, and more. 

To celebrate the exhibit, the Hargrett Library will host a free opening reception from 5:30 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 31. For more information about the event, contact Jess Grant at 

The exhibit will remain on display through December 2023. The galleries at the Special Collections Libraries, located on the University of Georgia campus in Athens, are open to visitors for free from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays, with extended evening hours until 7 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays. For more information or to schedule a tour, visit