Shakedown Street (vending area)

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A vending area at the Starlight Mountain Festival
Tie-dye shirts for sale at the Starlight Mountain Festival
Vendors and concert attendees at the Starlight Mountain Festival

Shakedown Street is the area of a jam band parking lot where the vending takes place.[1][2][3] It is named after the Grateful Dead song of the same name,[1][4][5] and began in the early 1980s in the parking lots at Grateful Dead concerts.[1] Items sold have included food, beverages and alcoholic beverages, clothing (such as T-shirts)[6] and jewelry,[1][4] among others. Ticket scalping may also occur.[1]


In the Deadhead community,[4] and other like-minded musical scenes,[2] an interesting tailgating culture evolved.[1] More than just a party for fans, it is a way for the faithful to sell wares which in turn fund their tickets and gas to the next concert in order to spend weeks, months, or even entire tours on the road.[7] Along with the more traditional fare and beverages such as individual cans or bottles of beer, there may be a selection of vegetarian food[6] such as grilled cheese sandwichs, egg rolls, burritos, falafel[6] and pizza. Certain illicit foods such as hash brownies and "ganja gooballs" are also sometimes found in the parking lots. Other products available for the tailgaters include handmade jewellery, bumper stickers, t-shirts,[6] or drug paraphernalia.


The Shakedown Street vending scene also provides a common area where touring music fans may socialize with one-another while traveling from show to show during a band's concert tour.[7] This can instill a sense of community among fellow touring concert goers.[7]

Concerts with similar vending areas[edit]

In popular culture[edit]

Chef Ra purveyed his rasta pasta dish in the Shakedown Street area of parking lots at many Grateful Dead concerts.[8]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Tuedio, J.; Spector, S. (2010). The Grateful Dead in Concert: Essays on Live Improvisation. McFarland, Incorporated Publishers. p. 109. ISBN 978-0-7864-5828-8. 
  2. ^ a b Cole, A. (2003). Crashing America. AuthorHouse. p. 195. ISBN 978-0-595-28428-3. 
  3. ^ Schrott, F. (2014). The Transitive Nightfall of Diamonds: A Collection of Bad-Boy Poetry and Other Assorted Fish Tales. iUniverse. ISBN 978-1-4917-3917-4. 
  4. ^ a b c Adams, R.G.; Sardiello, R. (2000). Deadhead Social Science: "You Ain't Gonna Learn what You Don't Want to Know". G - Reference, Information and Interdisciplinary Subjects Series. AltaMira Press. p. 162. ISBN 978-0-7425-0251-2. 
  5. ^ Scott, D.M.; Halligan, B. (2010). Marketing Lessons from the Grateful Dead: What Every Business Can Learn from the Most Iconic Band in History. Wiley. p. 128. ISBN 978-0-470-94084-6. 
  6. ^ a b c d e Gibbon, S. (2013). Run Like an Antelope: On the Road with Phish. St. Martin's Press. p. 95. ISBN 978-1-4668-5224-2. 
  7. ^ a b c d Schonberger, C.; Inc., Let's Go; Bartelma, K. (2004). Let's Go 2005 USA: With Coverage of Canada. LET'S GO USA. St. Martin's Press. p. 77. ISBN 978-0-312-33557-1. 
  8. ^ Magazine, E.H.T.; McDonough, E.; Remington, S. (2012). The Official High Times Cannabis Cookbook. Chronicle Books LLC. p. 75. ISBN 978-1-4521-1348-7. 

Further reading[edit]