Shea is one of the last institutions of an entire generation of DIY music venues in New York City. Now, it's existence is under threat from a variety of governmental & political factors. We want to make Shea a completely legal, 100% permitted venue to protect its future. If you believe in the value of DIY music spaces in NYC, join us to make this a reality.
What Is Shea Stadium?
Shea Stadium is an all ages music venue in NYC dedicated to recording & documenting the ever evolving artistic landscape of the city. The idea is simple - we invite artists to come play, record them, and pay them for the service.
When we first opened Shea Stadium in 2009 we never expected the space would become a full-time venue. In fact, Shea was originally intended to act mainly as a recording studio but to keep the lights on, we began throwing more shows to subsidize our rent. Over the years our calendar grew, but we never stopped recording.
Over the years Shea's amassed an archive of live music of over 10,000 tracks from nearly 1,000 bands, documenting an entire era in New York City's independent music scene. Since 2011, we've been streaming highlights and full performances ad-free on our website and have always given artists free access and full rights to their recordings to release and profit from them as they see fit.
But it's never just been about the people on the stage -- Shea's run by an ever-growing network of volunteers, interns and band members. When we started nearly a decade ago, we had no real or previous experience in running a venue or booking shows. We were armed only with a few brooms, a PA system, and an intense passion for the music being made in our city and other DIY networks around the world. We try to pass the empowerment we found in learning through doing down through our interns, who have been vital in shaping the identity of our space, and who have put the knowledge they've gained to work towards accomplishing their goals in NYC and beyond.
For more info on Shea's history & the archives:
The New Yorker - "Long Live Shea Stadium"
New York Times - "Playing at Shea, Not The Mets"
Village Voice - "One Night At Shea Stadium"
NPR - "10 Recordings You Should Hear from Shea Stadium's Vault"
Reopening a More Sustainable Shea
We want to make Shea a completely legal, 100% permitted venue to protect its future.
Starting in January 2017 Shea began receiving a series of violations related to the legal use, zoning and licensing of our building. Some shows were interrupted, some were shut down and as a result, many were moved to other venues. There were no vacate orders given and our building was not condemned or deemed unsafe; we chose to shut down preemptively to prevent racking up more expensive fines and risking more serious repercussions.
A variety of governmental & political factors threaten the existence of spaces like Shea. We had always treated the possibility of a shutdown as inevitable but as we stare down the insanely powerful forces that stand between us and full legalization, we now know we owe it to the community to continue despite a long road ahead.
Shea is one of the last institutions of an entire generation of DIY music venues in New York City. Over the years we've been saddened to see our peers in all ages artist-run spaces like Death By Audio, Market Hotel, 285 Kent & Monster Island Basement have to shutter their doors due to a wide range of circumstances beyond their control.
When a space shuts down, musicians don't just lose a place to play. Every space is the focal point of an entire ecosystem of artists that provide support & fosters creative action in the world.
And it's not only the artistic community that loses out - the repercussions are felt on a much larger scale. A recent study done by the city of New York showed that small music venues generated $21 billion of revenue in 2015 alone. Yet since the year 2000 more small venues have closed than ever before, as the city's increased regulation and inflated rents have made running these types of spaces an uphill climb.
Over the past eight years Shea's become a space where people of all ages can go and know that they will be able to see their favorite artists not on a pedestal or behind barriers, but face to face where real connections are made. These connections change lives and open up doors of possibility to young people and aspiring artists in this city.
What's the Plan?
So you may be asking yourself "if it was going so well, why does Shea need my help?"
It's because since day one we've put the artists first. For years, we've operated at the lowest possible overhead in order to maximize profits, not for ourselves but for the struggling musicians, artists, and comedians who come through our doors.
Your generosity will bring back Shea better than ever. We've always sought to reflect what this community expects and needs from a space, and operating above board means we can have higher visibility and open up to new types of programming, including free daytime events & workshops to serve you better. Once we meet our goal we can begin work to open the space to the public later this year.
Raising these funds will help us make the necessary renovations and acquire all the necessary permits to make Shea more sustainable.
You'd help Shea pay for:
- renovations to pass inspection by the Dept of Buildings, FDNY & Dept of Health ($20,000)
- architect fees for drafting plans & filing permits ($13,000)
- fire safety training ($1,000)
- health & bar permits ($7,000)
- legal fees ($14,000)
Shea needs your help and we have no doubt the community will do what it does best: when one of us falls, we pick each other up. The show must go on, and it will with your help. Donate now and do your part in preserving all ages community spaces in NYC.
Adam, Nora, Luke & the Shea Stadium Family
Risks and challenges
++ After consulting with several architects and attorneys over the past few weeks, we're optimistic about our ability to bring our space up to full legal code. Ultimately, however, how long and expensive of a process this will be is largely up to the experienced professionals we'll hire to help, our community board, and the inspectors of various city organizations.
++ When you don't own your building there are no 100% guarantees. As renters there are factors that are beyond our control. This fundraising effort will put us in the best position to continue Shea for as long as possibleLearn about accountability on Kickstarter
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