Wetlands Preserved: The Story of an Activist Nightclub

Watch Wetlands Preserved: The Story of an Activist Nightclub

  • NR
  • 2005
  • 1 hr 33 min
  • 7.6  (75)
  • 69

Wetlands Preserved: The Story of an Activist Nightclub is a 2008 American documentary film that tells the story of a nightclub called Wetlands. The movie caters to music and history lovers and explores the fascinating history of Wetlands - a gritty downtown club in New York City that became a hotbed for activism, environmentalism, and great music.

Directed by Dean Budnick, the film showcases the evolution of Wetlands from its humble beginnings as a blues and rock venue to a cultural landmark that hosted shows by world-famous bands, such as Phish, The Grateful Dead, and The Roots. The movie is a celebration of the club's unique history, its unforgettable shows, and its cultural impact, which was felt far beyond the Lower East Side of Manhattan.

The documentary is narrated by Mabili Kregg Ajamu, a longtime Wetlands employee, who shares its story, from its inception to its closure. Ajamu is a central figure in the movie, providing a first-hand account of the club's early days, its mission, and its community outreach programs. He also narrates the club's eventual descent into a tight-knit group of activists and a hub for environmental and social justice causes.

The film features interviews with several artists and iconic figures who played at Wetlands, including Warren Haynes, Dave Matthews, Bob Weir, and Trey Anastasio. The musicians speak at length about their fond memories of playing at the club and the impact that Wetlands had on their music and their social consciousness.

Rob Barraco and Chris Barron, two prominent musicians who performed at the club, also make appearances in the movie. Barraco is seen playing the piano in a recording studio while recounting his experiences at the club. Barron, the lead singer of the Spin Doctors, shares some of his memories of playing at Wetlands and how it was a crucial stepping stone in his band's career.

Throughout the film, the audience is transported back in time to the late 1980s and early 1990s when Wetlands first opened its doors. The club quickly became a focal point for young people searching for an oasis of music and community in the noisy and chaotic New York City nightlife. At the same time, club co-founder Pete Shapiro and his team began organizing events and benefit concerts to support various environmental causes, including the rainforest and river cleanups.

The documentary includes archival footage of some of the concerts that took place at Wetlands, giving viewers a glimpse of the incredible energy and intimacy of the shows. The interviews with the musicians and the club's team also provide a glimpse of the magic that made Wetlands so legendary.

Overall, Wetlands Preserved: The Story of an Activist Nightclub is a brilliant documentary that captures the essence of one of the most extraordinary and iconic music venues of our time. The movie serves as a testament to the human spirit that inspired the club's founders, staff, and musicians to give back to their community and to use music to stimulate activism and consciousness-raising.

In conclusion, anyone who loves music, history, and activism should see Wetlands Preserved: The Story of an Activist Nightclub. The film is a worthy tribute to the club that inspired an entire generation and a testament to the power of music to bring people together and change the world.

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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 33 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    7.6  (75)
  • Metascore