Posted in movies | music | venues on March 2, 2008

Wetlands, RIP

Archival footage, soundboard recordings and the work of a dozen digital animators help to relate the story of celebrated Tribeca nightclub Wetlands Preserve, which fostered the music of the Dave Matthews Band, Phish and Ben Harper while simultaneously supporting a social and environmental activism center from February 1989 through September 2001.
The documentary is opening at Cinema Village in NYC on March 14th, and at Laemmle's Grande in LA on March 28th. More info, trailer & pics at the "Wetlands Preserved: The Story of an Activist Rock Club" website, and a related video & even more info, below...

DOCDAY: Wetlands Preserved

Wetlands. For many the name evokes a spirit, a community, an ethos. People still rave about the time they first encountered The Dave Matthews Band, Blues Traveler, Phish or Pearl Jam at the legendary New York City rock club. Others never visited, but have seen the signature Wetlands bus in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame or have listened to the celebrated live recordings that originated from the club's intimate stage. Still others participated in Wetlands' working groups for social and environmental advocacy and remain tethered to its influential Activism Center.

Yet while the Wetlands legend and legacy endures, a full account of its rich history remains untold. Even those who have a familiarity with the venue know only a fraction of the story. Prior to the opening of Wetlands Preserve in February 1989 as a self-styled "Eco-Saloon," the nightclub was already an anomaly. By the time it had closed in September 2001, it had become an archetype as well.

Vintage footage, original recordings and new digital animation tell the story of the celebrated nightclub in Tribeca New York. It traces the history of this venue and its denizens as they find their way, ultimately thriving as an independent nightclub that supports new music and providing a nurturing proving ground for talent, many of whom appear in the film. Wetlands Preserved presents the many facets of this unique, influential and progressive New York institution.

Featured Interviews:
Bob Weir, Dave Matthews, Blues Traveler, ?uestlove (The Roots), Mike Gordon (Phish), Nick Hexum (311), Robert Randolph, Warren Haynes (Allman Brothers Band), Mike Doughty, Hanson, John Medeski (Medeski Martin & Wood), Darius Rucker (Hootie & The Blowfish), Ryan Miller (Guster), Al Schnier and Rob Derhak (moe.), Marc Brownstein and Jon Gutwillig (Disco Biscuits), Derek Trucks, Eric Krasno (Soulive), Vinnie Stigma (Agnostic Front), Jimmy G (Murphy's Law), Michael Musto, Richard Gehr, Kenneth Jackson

Music Featured in the Film:
Agnostic Front, Ani Difranco, Ben Harper, Blues Traveler, Dave Matthews Band, The Disco Biscuits, Fishbone, Frogwings, Joan Osborne, moe., Pearl Jam, Phish, Project Logic, Robert Randolph & The Family Band, Spearhead, Spin Doctors, Sublime, 311

Best Documentary - Asheville Film Festival
Best Unreleased Film, High Times Stony Awards

"This is not a nostalgia trip at all, but tells the story of a groundbreaking club with intelligence, spirit, great music and love. Go See it." - WOODSTOCK TIMES

"Watching Wetlands Preserved, it's hard not to appreciate the idealism and unbridled optimism of an activist nightclub that survived in New York City for more than 10 years before being beaten down by the one-two-three punch of Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, rampant gentrification and the collapse of the twin towers." - AUSTIN CHRONICLE

"More than offering eye candy or great shots of a young Dave Matthews and young Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam, "Wetlands Preserved" tells a fascinating story and shows a unique perspective of New York City. The tale of this nightclub is placed in historical ...The interviews offer insight that might resonate with anyone who has a soft spot for the girders, grime and grooves that lie at the core of life in the Big Apple."

"Digs into the intriguing elements of what made the Wetlands unlike any other bar, club or music hall. In many ways the eclectic enclave was unabashedly the hippie haven of its reputation. It can easily be called the CBGB's of Deadheads."

"Wetlands garnered a reputation as a hippie haven in some media, but the distinction was far too limited for the true range of the club's shows. The documentary portrays founder Bloch as a club owner with the purest of intentions- the music. And improv of all kinds, be it hip-hop, punk, ska or jam bands, flourished."- SUMMIT DAILY NEWS

2007, 96 minutes, Video, Color, English
Not Rated, Documentary
Director of Photography JONATHAN HEALEY



Comments (26)

Although I hate jam band music (especially the Grateful Dead), Tuesday nights at the Wetlands were fun. Or the ska matinees.

Posted by Anonymous | March 2, 2008 3:26 PM

Yeah, I'm not much into the jam bands, though I went there plenty for the ska & punk bands. I still think of the Wetlands as the venue with all the ska bands, though it doesn't look like the documentary only features like 1 or 2 ska bands.

Posted by Lars | March 2, 2008 4:38 PM

anon 3:26

you hate jam bands, especially the grateful dead, and you say you really enjoyed tuesday nights there?

that's what was there.

are you talking about the "drum circle" (LLLOOOOUUUUDDDDDD DJEMBES) downstairs?

Posted by oxymoron | March 2, 2008 4:56 PM

I think I'll open a club specifically aimed to foster the downfall of the music of Dave Matthews Band, Ben Harper, and Phish.

Posted by Michael Quirk | March 2, 2008 5:00 PM

awesome club, great film - saw the premier a bit ago, definitely captured the feeling of that place

Posted by Anonymous | March 2, 2008 6:42 PM

i just remember they stuffed that place to the gills if you were willing to pay.

but did see some great stuff...lots of hardcore and punk shows and my first queens of the stone age show back at cmj in 98.

Posted by Anonymous | March 2, 2008 8:56 PM

It starts March 14, not 4th, at Cinema Village.
Wetlands was an amazing place and is definitely missed. Compared to the kind of club opening in NY these days, jeez, it's sad. Can you think of any venues operating now that will have documentaries made about them? With the closing of Tonic, I really can't think of any.

Posted by stefan | March 2, 2008 9:06 PM

Michael Quirk, I'd back that establishment 100%.

Posted by Anonymous | March 2, 2008 9:48 PM

I remember one night we were kids w/ no money, and some 30-ish hippie in the basement space shared some killer weed with us and we got beutifully stoned. Can you picture something like that happening at Bowery Ballroom or Music Hall of Williamsburg these days? ha!

We saw Chris Whitley there, thats the best show I remember seeing there.

Posted by Anonymous | March 3, 2008 1:07 AM

Jesus is Pete Shapiro the new Hilly Kristal?!

Ths doc has debuted, been announced, had screenings about 20 times already. Wetlands was am asterisk in NYC music at best.

Posted by Enough Already! | March 3, 2008 2:48 AM

if wetlands is an asterisk, who are the big boys? In my perspective no question after CB's went down in quality, this was the place to go see live music (in the 90s).

Posted by Anonymous | March 3, 2008 8:56 AM

Saw some great shows here! Guster, Lake Trout, Gibb Droll was a fun and unique venue. I miss it!

Posted by Anonymous | March 3, 2008 9:17 AM

You fucking loser-ass hipsters make me sick. Bands like Phish and DMB blow your horrendous, flavor-of-the-month bands out of the water. You wouldn't know a talented musician from a hole in the wall.

Posted by Anonymous | March 3, 2008 9:35 AM

don't hate cause you're not 18 anymore, 9:35.

Posted by Anonymous | March 3, 2008 9:56 AM

I'd definitely like to see this.

Posted by Anonymous | March 3, 2008 9:59 AM

Yeah, great club, bland bands in the main, but there were some wonderful shows. Oasis were amazing there.

Posted by Anonymous | March 3, 2008 10:39 AM

Big Up Koncrete Jungle Massive!.... er, anyone?.... I'm surprised there's no mention at all.... Wasn't that on Mondays? Shouldn't have smoked so much....

Posted by Anonymous | March 3, 2008 10:49 AM

"anon 3:26

you hate jam bands, especially the grateful dead, and you say you really enjoyed tuesday nights there
that's what was there."

Yes, I know, which is why I specifically mentioned Tuesday nights. The music was not why I went, it was the atmosphere of the club that made it interesting. Even standing outside in the long line was more fun than some lame club.

Posted by Anonymous | March 3, 2008 11:14 AM

it's worth mentioning that this doc was directed by dean budnick, well known author of many phish manuals, etc. makes sense that he would skew jam-band. either way i'll go just to have one last look at the joint - man, i loved wetlands in the mid 90's.

Posted by anonymous | March 3, 2008 1:05 PM

I used to see a lot of hardcore shows there. It wasn't all hippies.

Posted by Anonymous | March 3, 2008 6:14 PM

yeah, reading this made it sound like it was a hippie college frat house. not so. i saw loads of punks bands there, reggae & jungle parties & for some reason i'm pretty sure that i saw Beck play there with the Evil Knievel?? could that even be possible?
anyway, yeah, not just for hippies.

Posted by sb | March 3, 2008 6:50 PM

^ ok , i'm not entirely nuts.
i just googled it. looks like they did share the same stage, but it was at The Grand in 1994. the problem is that i can't even remember where the hell the grand was. i'm getting old!

Posted by sb | March 3, 2008 6:56 PM

This summer will be a great occasion for music lovers like to watch their favourite singers. Many singers have announced their tours and concerts and others are planning to. As I am music lover especially Rock music, I always attend a lot of singers and bands’ concerts such as Dave Matthews band to which I have a special love. I used not to care about ticket prices but a friend has advised me to compare prices before purchasing and recommended me a site for that purpose. Here it is you may need to use it.
It’s not meanness but thriftiness.

Posted by Alicia | March 7, 2008 5:44 AM

this document focuses on hippie shit, when all of us comment people remember all the punk & hardcore musik, screw thoes jam freaks... in da NYC we remember the PUNX!!!

up da punx,

Posted by shakes mcgraff | March 14, 2008 6:29 PM

I saw Desomnd Dekker, Anti-Heros, Stormwatch, Swinging Utters, Pietasters, Toasters

Posted by skinhead 88 | August 12, 2008 9:07 PM

Just saw the documentary. Was blown away. Thankful the Wetlands existed. What's left?

Posted by Nanci | October 7, 2008 7:46 AM

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