Synopsis by Mark Deming
A lot have people have opened rock clubs for a lot of different reasons, but Larry Bloch is one of the few to have opened a music venue as a medium for social change. In 1989, Bloch and a handful of friends, none of whom had experience running a nightclub, opened Wetlands in New York City's Tribeca district, and as part of their business plan, each month a percentage of the club's proceeded were to be donated to a nonprofit Center for Social and Environmental Justice, with the annual payout often exceeding 100,000 dollars. In addition to the club's success as an avenue for fundraising, Wetlands helped give a home to a new breed of bands whose music suited the hippie-esque vibe of the club while opening new territories in improvisational rock, and Phish, Dave Matthews Band, Blues Traveler, and Gov't Mule were among the acts who were regulars attractions at Wetlands before finding worldwide fame. Dean Budnick, a senior editor at Relix Magazine (a journal that frequently covers the jam band scene) makes his directorial debut with Wetlands Preserved: The Story of an Activist Rock Club, which examines both the music and the message behind this fabled venue.
club [place], environmentalism, rock-music, social-change