March 04, 2020

Wetlands Preserved Documentary: The Story of an Activist Rock Club

Relix has put up the Wetlands Preserved Documentary: The Story of an Activist Rock Club on YouTube. It premiered in 2006 and made the rounds on the film festival circuit before a theatrical release in select theaters in Los Angeles and New York.

Archival footage, soundboard recordings and the work of a dozen digital animators help to relate the story of celebrated Tribeca nightclub Wetlands Preserve. The venue gave an early home to artists such as Phish, Dave Matthews Band, Blues Traveler, Spin Doctors, Widespread Panic, The Roots, moe., Gov’t Mule, Guster, 311, Robert Randolph, Soulive, The Disco Biscuits, all of whom appear in the film along with Bob Weir, Derek Trucks, Oteil Burbridge, Joe Russo, Darius Rucker and many others. Wetlands was not solely a music venue, as the club simultaneously supported a social and environmental activism center.

Larry and Laura Bloch founded the venue, which opened in February 1989, then sold it to 23-year-old Peter Shapiro in 1996. Shapiro ran Wetlands until the club finally closed in September 2001. The signature Wetlands bus currently sits in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

The documentary, which draws exclusively on music recorded at the club, also features songs from Sublime, Pearl Jam, Ani DiFranco, Ben Harper, Michael Franti & Spearhead 311, KRS-1, Joan Osborne, Agnostic Front and Fishbone.

Wetlands Preserved: The Story of an Activist Rock Club premiered at Manhattan’s Ziegfeld Theater in 2006. It then screened at a number of festivals, including SXSW, Woodstock, Santa Barbara and Breckenridge and Asheville, where it won Best Documentary. The film opened theatrically in Los Angeles and New York in the spring of 2008 before airing on the Sundance Channel.

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