On Wednesday night impresario Peter Shapiro was honored at the opening night gala of BRIC’s Celebrate Brooklyn! festival which featured a performance by Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings. Shapiro’s current credits include publisher of Relix, co-founder and organizer of Lockn’ and a principal behind Brooklyn Bowl and The Capitol Theatre. Eric Krasno and Joe Russo spoke about Pete’s influence on their careers, while Shapiro discussed the impact late Wetlands founder Larry Bloch had on him as well as the guidance passed on by his father Dan Shapiro who recently passed away.
Peter Shapiro first came on the scene 20 years ago when Bloch handed him the keys to famed New York City nightclub Wetlands Preserve. Shapiro kept the beloved Wetlands going for a very important five years in which many seminal jam acts came up through the ranks. After Wetlands closed, he saved another jam scene institution by taking over as publisher of Relix Magazine. He then got back into the venue operations game with the opening of the original Brooklyn Bowl, which now has two additional outposts and more expected soon.
In 2012, Pete re-opened The Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, New York and the storied venue has since thrived under his leadership. The following year the impresario put together the first Lockn’ festival with partner Dave Frey. Three successful years later and Lockn’ is a staple of festival season which will host his beloved Phish this August. Last summer the impresario played a huge role in presenting a series of five Fare Thee Well concerts celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Grateful Dead.
Through it all Peter Shapiro has kept his independence from the mammoth companies that continue to consolidate the industry. He wants his partners, the musicians he works with and those who attend his events/venues to enjoy the live music experience to the utmost. As an example, I wrote what I thought was a glowing review of Saturday at last year’s Lockn’ festival. Though 90 percent of the article was extremely positive, I did note a few issues I ran into at the Arrington, Virginia event. Within an hour of the post being published, Shapiro contacted me and shortly thereafter he was leading me on a tour to show me how he had addressed the issues I brought up. It’s this attention to detail and his genuine concern for all he touches that have been integral to his success.
As Jambands.com noted, the audience at Wednesday’s ceremony was filled with a number of musicians who have worked with Shapiro during the past 20 years including Michael Franti, John Popper, Robert Randolph, moe.‘s Al Schnier, Soulive/Lettuce’s Neal Evans, Jackie Greene, the Disco Biscuits’ Marc Brownstein and Aron Magner, American Babies/Joe Russo’s Almost Dead’s Tom Hamilton, North Mississippi Allstars’ Luther Dickinson, The Slip’s Marc Friedman, DJ Logic, Antibalas’ Martin Perna, Sharon Van Etten, Woods’ Jarvis Taveniere, Joe Russo’s Almost Dead/RANA guitarist Scott Metzger and Guster’s Ryan Miller.
Watch an amazing video honoring Shapiro featuring Warren Haynes, Phil Lesh, Robert Plant and other artists as well as music industry vets, his colleagues and members of his family that was shown at Wednesday’s ceremony: