Dead & Company Vendors Create Space In Las Vegas To Get Down

Article Contributed by Shakedown Vegas | Published on Friday, April 5, 2024

Not-For-Profit “Shakedown Vegas” will be every weekend at the Tuscany Suites & Casino, 255 E. Flamingo Rd in Las Vegas. Starting Thursday May 16th Thru Saturday July 13th at 11am to 7pm and will be held on all show days of the 24 date residency on 8 weekends over 9 weeks, with the last weekend in June being dark. Shakedown Vegas will host Vendors, Live Music, Art & Exhibits. All ages are welcome and the event will be free to attend!

Starting the first two weeks in the parking lot of the casino and then moving indoors to the convention space, Shakedown Vegas will feature national festival vendors, artists, local bands and other musicians from all over the country. Poster artists and photographers will contribute to the featured exhibits from week to week. Specific artists and musicians will be announced in an updated release coming as soon as possible. Local artisans and glass blowers will create live art for attendees to witness and enjoy. For more info please contact Molly Henderson at [email protected], Liora Soladay at (415) 272-8062 or Robert Shatzer at (707) 701-3030.

Frustrated by the lack of options to create the now synonymous with the Dead & Company pre concert party SHAKEDOWN STREET, the vendors decided to take matters into their own hands. A small group of professional vendors spanning from all over the country came together on-line in a common chat group and decided to do the groundwork themselves.

After many calls, emails, posts and sharing of pricing quotes over two months. Molly Henderson and Robert Shatzer along with Jay and Liora Soladay agreed the Tuscany Suites & Casino met all the criteria. “While finding one location with availability for all 24 Sphere residency dates was a concern, finding the right “fit” was truly our objective. We knew immediately after meeting the Tuscany staff that we had a home and a production staff that would work with us to assure success,” said Molly, a professional Vendor and Jewelry Maker from San Francisco and New Orleans.

For local Henderson resident Robert Shatzer, giving back to the scene that has meant so much to him for the last 30+ years has been a calling. “I have a long history of creating events that intentionally just break even. I like having a good time and realized early on that if just a few people came together with the same intentions and willingness to donate a little time, really beautiful things could happen. When I brought up the idea to the rest of the members in our private chat group it was obvious this was the only way to structure the event”. A Free To Attend Not-For-Profit Production, defined internally as all monies generated by vendor fees and sponsorship will be used to produce and better the event. “We’ll make our money at our booths,” Shatzer added.

Typically paying steep daily fees charged by parking lots at venues across the country that make a “tour”, it didn't take the vendors long to realize they were generating some serious money for the promoters. The fees to vend, long being a thorn in the side of what some call “the hardest working crew in show business” is a common topic in the group’s online chats. “The cost of vending is killing us.” said Don Bryant, a retired Veteran Army Ranger who now lives out his retirement on tour with the “Deadheads”. Why can’t they all be like Chicago?” he added. Referencing Wrigley Field in Chicago, a venue that actually does not charge the vendors to set up and even offers them a designated space complete with porta potties and security. Bryant went on to say “It’s really great to see us vendors come together to create a space for the Vegas run. Coming together to have a good safe time, that's just beautiful.”

Grateful Dead Shakedown Vendors Are Doin’ It Just For You!  & Themselves

Now that the contracts are signed, it is official! The officially non-official Shakedown Vegas event is announced! “Shakedown Street” (adopted from a song title by the Grateful Dead) being the more commonly known moniker for the vendor pre concert tailgate party outside Grateful Dead and other jambands concerts nationwide, doesn't quite describe the event. “It was important to construe this is more than just a “Shakedown” said Ken Czajka, a New York resident who started seeing the Grateful Dead in 1984 and is coming out for the entire 24 show run. When asked about how the event will differ from the usual scene Czajka replied; “Shakedown Vegas will be almost exactly like all other pre concert lot parties,but this one is different. We did it ourselves”.

Different also, in that the bands that often set up in the various parking lots to simply play for fun or exposure will have a stage and sound system. “We will still have some buskers working the crowd, but I think with the space we have outside it’ll be nice to give bands a nice area to play in” said Jay Soladay. “We’ve got a few tricks up our sleeves and we are gonna pull off some surprises,” he added. ”And when the event moves inside We’ll have Art and photo exhibits that would not be conducive to an outside set up”

With the business of space procurement out of the way. The group as a whole, all 95+ Shakedown Vendors, from all over the country are now collectively working on the promotion of the event. “Everyone is pitching in whatever skills they have to add to the event. We’ve got artists, graphic designers, publicists, web site designers and more just in our little group. We’re taking care of all of this ourselves, Shatzer says.

When asked about the self production Liora Soladay referenced the now infamous line taken from a Press Conference on Sept 13, 1988 at the United Nations for The Rain Forest Benefit. At which founding Member of the Grateful Dead Jerry Garcia famously said:

“...Somebody has to do something, it seems incredibly, in fact it seems pathetic that it has to be us...”.

“And this has become our unofficial motto," added Liora.

*Shakedown Vegas will take place 11am - 7pm, 3 days a week for 8 of 9 weeks, starting Thurs - Sat May 16, 17, 18 & Fri - Sun May 24, 25, 26 & Thu - Sat May 30, 31, 6/1 & Thu - Sat June 6, 7, 8 & Thu - Sat June 13, 14, 15 & Thu - Sat June 20, 21, 22 & Thu - Sat July 4, 5, 6 & Thu - Sat July 11, 12, 13 @ The Tuscany Suites And Casino in Las Vegas, NV.

For more information and the most up to date news about the event please checkout & Shakedown Las Vegas on Facebook.