AthFest Educates Auctions Gretsch Guitar Signed by Widespread Panic

AthFest Educates is holding an online auction of a Gretsch electric guitar that will be signed by all the members of legendary Athens band, Widespread Panic. The fundraising effort aids the organization in giving grants to local educators to advance their art and music related initiatives for Athens area young people in kindergarten through eighth-grade.

The bidding is already underway at and will go until the last day of AthFest, June 28th, at noon, when the winner will be announced. 

The Gretsch Tennessee Rose electric guitar was built new in 2000 in the Gretsch Chet Atkins tradition and has been kept in the collection of the Gretsch Foundation ever since before it was generously donated by the Gretsch Foundation to help support AthFest Educates.  

A collector hard cover book describing the Chet Atkins 2010-2011 Exhibition at the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville, Tennessee is included along with a copy of the 2007 Chet Atkins-Gretsch guitar story and catalog for further reference to the tradition. A hard shell Gretsch guitar case is also included. The whole package (without signatures) has a $1700.00 retail value.  Bids can be placed online here, or the guitar and bonus items can be bought now for $3000.00.  The guitar can be shipped to the winner, should s/he not be present to win. 

AthFest Educates advances high-quality music and arts education for local youth and the Athens community through direct support of school and community-based programs and events, including an annual music and arts festival.


Register for the AthFest Educates Grant Writing Workshop

AthFest Educates is hosting a free grant writing workshop for educators, youth development specialists, and community organizations to learn more about how to apply for, and be awarded, AthFest Educates grants.

Details for the workshop are as follows:

Date: Wednesday, April 29, 2015
Time: 3:30 pm - 4:30 pm for K - 5th grade programs; 4:45 pm - 5:45 pm for 6th - 8th grade programs
Location: Athens Community Career Academy located at 440 Dearing Extension, Building 1, Athens, Ga 30606.

Click here to register for the workshop. Space is limited.

For more information about the workshop, please contact AthFest Educates at: (706) 548-1973 or via e-mail at:


UGA Students Produce AthFest 2015 Compilation Album

Kelsey Cochran

Athens Banner-Herald

For the first time, this year’s 21-track AthFest compilation album was produced by students in the University of Georgia Music Business program, along with executive producer Russ Hallauer and Ghostmeat Records.

For the last 18 years, Ghostmeat produced the album, which promotes and extends the reach of the music festival that serves as a fundraiser for AthFest Educates.

Kelsey Kirpich, a music business student and co-producer for the project with Anna Reed, said a team of five students listened to 150 submissions and narrowed the tracks down to 21.

“We kept narrowing down the submissions until we had a list we felt was a great representation of the diverse Athens music scene,” Kirpich said in a press release.

The scheduled release of album is June 2 and it will be available at,, select record stores, AthFest merchant booths and iTunes.

The nearly 80-minute compilation features tracks from The Whigs, Roadkill Ghost Choir, Showtime, Reptar, and Family and Friends. It also includes a new People’s Choice track from Halem Albright, “Slip By,” which got the most votes in an online poll. A total of 14,594 votes were cast via the online People’s Choice Ballot, with over 25,000 views of the webpage from more than 10 countries, the release said.

David Barbe, director of the music business program, said he “instantly loved the idea” when he was approached about making the album a student project. “(I thought it was) a great opportunity for students to see the nuts and bolts of a music release — selecting artists and material, mastering, manufacturing, promoting and distributing,” he added.

The full tracklist for the album includes Sam Burchfield, “Here Tonight;” Tongues, “Fools Like These;” Monsoon, “Ride A’Rolla;” Playground Hero, “Don’t Be Judgin’ Me;” The Whigs, “Hit Me;” WrennPop, “Laundromat;” T Hardy Morris, “Painted on Attitude;” Hello, Amazon, “Mosaics;” Nifty Earth, “Kick Back;” Halem Albright, “Slip By;” Roadkill Ghost Choir, “Slow Knife;” Saturn Valley, “Odysseus;” The Orkids, “Lack of Faith;” Uncle Pizza, “Truth Master;” New Wives, “Laurels;” Uncle Dad, “Alien Mary;” Showtime, “Big Ol’ Bad Self;” Tedo Stone, “Slugs;” Reptar, “Cable;” Dana Swimmer, “Kids and a Mortgage;” and, Family and Friends, “Wyoming.”

AthFest Educates Awards $15,000 in Grants to Local Music and Arts Programs

Athfest Educates announced the recipients of its Winter 2015 music and arts grants, giving over $10,000 in equipment and $5,000 in programs and experiences, totaling over $15,000 to local schools and agencies to enhance their music and arts programming.

To learn about the 2014 - 2015 grantees and their projects, please visit

AthFest Educates executive director Jill Helme said the organization is, "pleased at the continuing diversity of AthFest Educates grantees from across the Athens areas including schools, nonprofit organizations, and government agencies. We're so excited that youth throughout our area will be able to benefit from both school-based and community-based music and arts programming,"  She added, "we're grateful to those who come out to run the AthHalf, support the AthFest Music and Arts Festival, and donate to AthFest Educates.  Without their support we wouldn't be able to award these grants and help make these meaningful and enriching programs available to our community's young people."

Since 2009, AthFest Educates has donated nearly $200,000 in grants to Athens area schools, agencies and organizations.

Clarke school musicians will lift voices

Athens Banner Herald
by Lee Shearer

While many school systems cut teachers, time and funding for music and other art programs after the long recession, the Clarke County Board of Education did the opposite, expanding those programs.

One result is that hundreds of Clarke County schoolchildren are lifting their voices in song, plucking strings and blowing horns this week, preparing to show their parents and others what they’ve learned. More than a dozen concerts and other music programs are scheduled in the schools through Dec. 18, beginning with the Clarke Central High School band’s holiday concert at 6

The musical offerings will include choral, band and orchestra concerts by high school and middle school student groups and winter musical programs at elementary schools.

“Certainly research is out there showing the connections between music and learning, but more importantly, I just don’t think we ought to lose the arts,” said Clarke County School Superintendent Phil Lanoue.

Each of Clarke County’s elementary schools now has a music teacher and an art teacher, and middle and high school students can explore music in chorus, band and orchestra classes.

The school district has gotten a lot of help from the community to keep its arts programs strong.

AthFest Educates donated $20,000 to the school system this year to buy instruments, sponsor workshops for students and teachers and pay for field trips, for example. AthFest Educates has donated more than $125,000 for arts programs in the school district over the past three years.


AthFest Educates Winter 2014 Grant Cycle Opens

Local non-profit AthFest Educates announced that the application period for grants for local music and arts programs are now being accepted through November 28th.

Applications are accepted from individuals from nonprofit organizations, public schools or local or state government agencies serving Athens-Clarke County youth in grades K-5. Funding priority is given to grants for music and arts nonconsumable equipment, music and arts programs and experiences, and art-based and music-based professional development for educators and/or youth development specialists.

AthFest Educates holds two annual events—AthFest Music and Arts Festival, and the AthHalf Half Marathon—to raise funds for the organization’s bi-annual grant-making efforts in August and January.

To date AthFest Educates has donated over $175,000 in grants to local schools and community programs that promote arts and music education.

Grants are not just for music or arts teachers. Jill Helme, director of AthFest Educates says, “we firmly believe in the power of music and arts to develop and deepen young people’s understanding of all core subject areas, not just in music or art class, so we strongly encourage teachers out there who want to use music and/or other arts in their teaching of language arts, math, science, social studies and other courses, to apply for grants, too.”

More information and applications are online at

AthFest Educates gives nearly $20K in grants and musical instruments to Clarke County School District

AthFest Educates recently awarded nearly $20,000 in music and arts grants for 13 Clarke County School District schools for purchasing instruments, providing professional development opportunities and supporting workshops and field trips.

“With AthFest Educates’ support, we have expanded access to the arts for our students – and have two years in a row been named one of the nation’s strongest communities in music education,” said Superintendent Philip D. Lanoue. “AthFest Educates has been a strong community partner, and they have made a real difference in the overall educational experience of our students.”

In addition to the 17 grants for schools, AthFest Educates also awarded over $2,000 to the University of Georgia’s Office of Service Learning to help support Experience UGA for all 500 Clarke County third-graders. Through this, students will attend the live theater performance of “The Parrot” by the UGA Children’s Theater Troupe. Teachers are provided with pre- and post-show activities and assessment tools.

"AthFest Educates is thrilled to be supporting the Fall 2014 grantees,” said Executive Director Jill Helme. "These professionals did a phenomenal job representing how funding from AthFest Educates would help advance their instruction and student learning. We're inspired by their commitment to the young people of Athens-Clarke County."

The full list of schools that received the grants are: Alps Road Elementary School, Barrow Elementary School, Barnett Shoals Elementary School, Chase Street Elementary School, Cleveland Road Elementary School, Fowler Drive Elementary School, Gaines Elementary School, J.J. Harris Elementary Charter School, Oglethorpe Avenue Elementary School, Timothy Elementary School, Whit Davis Elementary School, Whitehead Road Elementary
School and Winterville Elementary School.

Over the past three years, AthFest Educates has donated over $125,000 to the school district for fine arts programs.