Grateful Dead Bassist Lesh Bringing Music Venue to Fairfax?

Good Earth building in Fairfax cited by IJ as possible home.

Former Grateful Dead bassist Phil Lesh posted to a website this week an indication he may be opening a new music venue in Marin County.

A post apparently signed by Ross resident Lesh on Further.net, indicates he is buying a building to be able to have "a vibrant community gathering place: beautiful, comfortable, welcoming - for members of the community to commingle and enjoy good music."

"We’re taking the first steps to make a long time dream- a permanent musical home- come true. We are purchasing a building in Marin, and plan on remodeling it to feel like an old barn; we ‘re calling it Terrapin Landing. We will continue with Furthur while making music at Terrapin Landing when we are at home," the website posts states.

An article in today's Marin Independent Journal sites rumors the building could end up being the Good Earth site on Sir Francis Drake Blvd. in Fairfax.

Good Earth announced last November its intentions to move from its Sir Francis Drake location and open in October 2011 in the Fair-Anselm Plaza, taking over the now-empty building that once was the home for Albertson's.

Further.net is the online home for the band with Lesh and Bob Weir (one of the founding members of the Grateful Dead), along with a number of other musicians including Jeff Chimenti, John Kadlecik, Joe Russo, Sunshine Becker and Jeff Pehrson.

Kelly Dunleavy O'Mara April 07, 2011 at 02:30 AM
A number of neighbors talked at the council meeting tonight against the project -- which doesn't even have a proposal in yet! So, it will certainly be a big issue in town if it does come.
joyous April 07, 2011 at 05:26 PM
Fairfax would love it! I would love it! I don't know about the city council though...they don't like change! Music is the balm of the soul~
Claus Res April 08, 2011 at 09:39 PM
Concerned neighbor here... Yes we went to the town council meeting and expressed concerns, we also sent letters and emails to all board members and Phil himself. We are concerned of the noise, traffic, trash and volume of people being brought to our small neighborhood. Aren’t there better alternatives? Good Earth is actually zoned residential and they have barely been able to stay within the rules of a residential zone how on earth could a nightclub? We have been "assured" this is all rumors but doesn’t seem like it with all the media from IJ, News channel 11 and Online
chris April 08, 2011 at 10:27 PM
Dear Claus, How could there be a better alternative than Fairfax? Fairfax has historically been the stomping grounds of some of the world's greatest musicians and artists and their families. (Remember when you used to be able to walk into the record store run by Van Morrison's dad and have a chat about the state of the music business with him?) I am certain that your concerns of noise, trash, and traffic could be minimzed with good planning. Even if it is just a rumor, turning down this amazing opportunity would be a huge change in the character and fabric of Fairfax. Can you imagine what a great thing this would be for the merchants of Fairfax? And what an awesome thing it would be for the people of Ross Valley and San Geronimo Valley to be able to enjoy incredible world class musicians performing in our neighborhood! Terrapin Landing would be an incredible asset and enhance the magic of beautiful Fairfax.
Claus Res April 08, 2011 at 11:12 PM
Hi Chris, I am a very big fan of music and the merchants of Fairfax, from your reply I did not express this enough. I almost solely shop in Fairfax and visit all of our current local night life and restaurants several times a week. While I appreciate your opinion, I am guessing you are not a resident on the same street as this new proposed venue. We have had issues for years with the current Good Earth and down town visitors; lounging in our yards, leaving their trash behind, parking in or blocking our driveways, waking our children at all hours of the night and terrorizing our dogs. While I agree with good planning this could be great. But Our (residences of Claus circle & Drive ) have not had luck in the way of “good planning”. With an amazing opportunity like this to attract double to triple the amount of people our current night life attacks I am frightened of how it will affect our lives. Yes, very dramatic but you have to consider this will affect us day in and day out not just driving by on the way to your home or causing you to allow extra time to park for dinner. We as a group are all big fans of Fairfax and what it means to live her, heck most of us have seen the Grateful Dead live but don’t want to live in an everyday concert. In the spirit of keeping it in Fairfax what about the Marin Town & Country Club Property, tons of space that is not in use!
Richard Pedemonte April 09, 2011 at 02:39 AM
Its OK to be excited about a great new music venue in town. It will likely end up being world famous, expand our cultural horizons, and help our businesses. People will come for all over when the Dead's many famous friends come to play. It will be good for Fairfax but it won't help the poor folks on Claus Circle. I feel for them. I love going up to 19 for some tunes, but I'm glad I don't live right behind it. So its up to Phil's folks, the town, and the concerned citizens to come up with a viable plan. If we can accommodate the concerned parties then fine. If not then maybe Phil will have to find a genuine barn somewhere else in Marin. How about Bolinas? Oops..they hate outsiders. maybe Nicasio. Richard Pedemonte
Brad Clark April 09, 2011 at 06:55 PM
Another Claus Circle resident here. There is a group of us getting organized and ready to contend the proposal once it is filed with the city. Many of us are Dead fans and all are music fans, but we think the venue is the wrong spot for Phils vision. It will cause significant traffic and parking issues, increased garbage and of course an increase in vagrancy. There are lots of kids in the neighborhood that shouldn't have to deal with heads on tour sleeping in their vans in front of claus houses looking for a miracle ticket. Wouldn't Nicascio be a better spot, or someplace in san rafael that is more commercial versus residential? Traffic is already bad in and out of Drake...its gonna get way worse if Phil plays nightly at the current GE location.
keo April 09, 2011 at 11:34 PM
I don't really see how this is causing anymore traffic than a busy grocery store. In fact I am quite sure there would be significantly less and contained to a smaller period of time. People will come, park, watch a show and leave. Not drive in and out all day like a grocery store. With the sound technology these days, there is no reason why the venue can't be totally sound proofed....and it will give the Fairfax cops something to do on show nights, they can hang out at the "gates" of Claus Circle making sure no one disturbs the neighborhood. This could be the best thing to come to Marin in a long time , even more so for Fairfax. Don't just associate Phil with the Dead Scene, he is a classically trained musician with an eclectic taste, I am sure, in music. He would be bringing just what the demographic of West Marin needs. A killer high class venue with top notch, national scale artists. Google Levon Helm Midnight Ramble...these are the kinds of shows Phil wants to do here. Why would you want to keep this out of Fairfax? I understand the concern, but I think that there would be ways, (i.e.quality sound proofing, more police detail on show nights) to make it work so it didn't disturb the neighborhood. Oh my gosh.....you would be living down the street from what could become a historic venue. Don't write if off so soon. Don't scare Phil away, give him a chance to share his plan. THe man has $$ there is no reason it can't / won't be done the "Right" way for everyone.
keo April 09, 2011 at 11:41 PM
Traffic at night....that's just silly. Fairfax dies after 9pm....that's just not going to be an issue. Also, the demographic that follows Phil these days are mostly 30-60 somethings with families, many of them now settle down in Fairfax....it is not going to be this scene nightly that you speak of. And if every now and then a different group of folks came to town....so what, the yuppies could use a little shake up.
Life in the Bubble April 10, 2011 at 01:23 AM
NIMBY, NIMBY, NIMBY. Anywhere but my neighborhood... We LOVE the Dead, but we want them somewhere else... We chose to live 1 block from a vibrant downtown, but we expect no noise or traffic... Let the NIMBYism spin out of control even before a proposal has been submitted. Good grief people, you chose to live 1 or 2 blocks from a bustling and vibrant downtown. There is a trade off between having the convenience of being able to walk downtown for eating, shopping, socializing. That trade off is, traffic and noise inconveniences. (I live on SFD Blvd., so please don't tell me I don't know what I'm talking about). Build it! I'm not even a Dead Fan. Fairfax needs more business- we have enough empty space as it is. Fairfax needs more Fairfax-like culture- This is perfect. - With proper acoustics and soundproofing insulation, sound outside the current building would be negligible. - With some proper "chaperoning" of guests, impacts to the neighborhood would be way, way less than Good Earth. - Good Earth has consistent in-and-out traffic all day long into the evening. A music venue would only have significant traffic during starting and finishing of events. - Phil Lesh is not Lady Gaga. It's a different, older, more sophisticated crowd altogether. - This is exactly the type of "business" that Fairfax needs to be in.
Jane April 10, 2011 at 01:50 AM
Yes! Come to Fairfax! Phil is a class act, a survivor and septuagenarian with something wonderful to give. Plenty of us 70 year olds around who appreciate good music.
keo April 10, 2011 at 12:51 PM
I am back on here again cause I i just can't tolerate this attitude of "It doesn't work for us, so we are going to try and tell the ENTIRE COMMUNITY what is good or not good for them." I grew up in San Anselmo in the 70's-80's and I can tell you that there is the remaining contingent of "native locals" here that have been waiting for something like this since we were kids and are so excited about this prospect now that there will be a coalition of us fighting for this venue....something that would elevate the night life and culture of Fairfax and Marin at large. If you were really a Dead fan you would know that there fan base spans all walks of life and many generations. Don't be so closed minded about the "types" of people that might show. I'll tell you this, I'd rather have a hippie looking for a miracle than a thug at a Too Short show at 19th Broadway looking for a fight (which is exactly what happened).....oh but wait you don't live near 19 Broadway, so that doesn't affect you. I am tired of having to go to the city or up to Petaluma/Santa Rosa to see HIgh Quality national touring acts, I want to drive a few minutes from my house go to a killer show and go home in a few minutes......please you handful of neighbors, don't spoil the fun for the rest of us. Luckily I think the local politicos realize how incredibly STUPID it would be to not try and make this happen.
Brad Clark April 10, 2011 at 01:40 PM
Personally I think it will cause more traffic the the GE, but thats just my opinion. However that is why myself and roughly 30 other people will request the town conduct a full environmental impact report once the use permit is filed with the planning office. I have grammer school aged children that go to bed at 730 each night, so I am concerned about noise from the venue as well as noise from attendees parking on the street right in front of my house. I know you don't want to hear it, but I have to be honest with you and myself, I don't think its the spot for Phil's vision and I don't think it would be good for the town of fairfax. The Helm venue is in the country and the closest neighbor are miles away. I appreciate your opinion however.
Brad Clark April 10, 2011 at 01:47 PM
I hope your right, however I live literally 30 yards from the 1966 SFD building, and I am not the only adjoining resident that is concerned. I checked out the Philzone.org and read Phils posting on what type of events he want's to have, and it seems pretty extensive. He was taking about Sunday Morning Gospel Jam sessions, album nights etc. Since he is such a big name I am sure he won't have any problem pulling in headling acts to play the small venue. It will pull in fans from around the world. Its not the environment me or many of my neighbors sign-up for when we purchased our home. I respect your persepective however, thanks for the feedbck.
Brad Clark April 10, 2011 at 01:55 PM
NIMBY is right. Actually I am a NIMFY...not in my front yard, since the GE location is so close to my front yard. I would be an irresponsible parent if I didn't consider the impact Terrapin Landing will have on my family. I did chose to live one block from downtown ten years ago when I bought my house. I wouldn't have bought it if I know a nightclub was opening up 30 yards from where I live and sleep. As a citizen I am going to express my opinion on any proposed project that is adjoining my residence. I know its something you don't want to hear, but I am not the only person in the neighborhood who feels this way. A full environmental impact report will provide the necessary data to see in fact if Terrapin Landing can meet current noise ordinances, vagrancy laws, mitigate parking and traffic issues etc. You're right the town government needs more revenue and this will provide that, but at an expense to the neighborhood. Not to mention there will be a need for additional Fire and Law enforcement staff. But all that will be determined in the Environmental Impact Report and responses to comments from all citizens including yourself. I appreciate your opinion, but myself and others in the neighborhood don't think its the right location for Terrapin Landing.
Brad Clark April 10, 2011 at 01:59 PM
I'm not trying to tell the entire community what is good not good for them. I am just expressing my own opinion (and the opinion of many of the residents in the neighborhood). You are free to support the project if you want. I am not against dead fans or any other fans (I actually went to the too short concert, and the fight wasn't related to the show per the Marin IJ article). Can't Phil find a better location that isn't next to a residential area? The local politicos will have to make their own decisions based on feedback from all the citizens including yours. Thanks for the feedback.
Alex Zwissler April 10, 2011 at 04:26 PM
This is the Patch at it's best! Great discussion on a wonderful opportunity for our town, that will no doubt generate some concerns as expressed. My two cents, not having any personal skin in this one, is that no location for such a venue anywhere in Marin would be received without some opposition...the question the Town will have to wrestle with is the relative merits vs the impacts. I only hope this is done in such as way that takes into account the broader interests of the whole community. If it happens, there will no doubt be some folks unhappy about it, but that should not be the determining factor.
Life in the Bubble April 10, 2011 at 06:58 PM
I wouldn't ever count on the Marin Town and Country Club ever being used for anything but deterioration and blight. Too many stakeholders and neighbors would rally against any public or private use of that space, and the costs imposed by the city would drive out any entrepreneurs. Any proposed project would take years of litigation, hundreds of thousands in attorneys fees, hundreds of thousands in environmental studies of obscure salamander mating habits, and miles of bureaucratic red tape. (Just look at the proposed 680 trail outside Fairfax if you have any doubts. It could be built almost exclusively with volunteer labor, but is projected to cost over $600K due to administrative costs run amok). Sadly, it's best use is probably a business loss tax write off. Too bad, I'd love to see just about any use of the T&C Club besides run down, ramshackle buildings.
chris April 10, 2011 at 08:39 PM
Well of course Marin Town and Country Club would be the best ever place for Terrapin Landing in an ideal world. Just imagine... there is room for a nice big simple barn and a recording studio, parking, some other little supporting businesses like bakery, coffee shop, healthy little restaurant or snack bar, a bike shop, and a bed and breakfast, Fairfax style. Re-furbish and keep some of the original buildings for these businesses to keep the history. A nice little park and vegetable and flower garden, some other outdoor rec space. Simple low key. Add your own wish list. This would be perfect. We can dream can't we? Please come to Fairfax Terrapin Landing!!
Claus Res April 11, 2011 at 12:44 AM
Wow, I am glad to hear there is much talk about this but very sad people are not considering us NIMFY's. We all signed on to live down the street from town and across the street from a grocery store. But not what Phil is planning. The word on the street is he has already purchased the building and that is causing us residence to be as vocal as possible reaching out to our board and social media but realistically a savvy man like Phil would not buy a building without confirmation that he can get zoning and approval to execute his vision from the city… But of course it is all rumors still.
Erika April 11, 2011 at 06:01 PM
Fear is the Boo of Change. In my opinion, it would be a privilege to have Terrapin Landing in Fairfax. Can the people of Fairfax turn such an amazing possibility down? Surely there are intelligent ways to protect the nearby residents, with soundproofing, buying the "gas station" next door and thereby dealing with parking and other practical needs. . If we all work together to made it a win-win result, it can be done. This is not a Target store wanting to come in, after all. Fairfax is already the most fun town in Marin County. It would be in the spirit of Fairfax to welcome such a unique venue. Surely a sound wall behind the building would help to mitigate any disturbing noise that would affect the neighbors. Fines could be made on people parking or otherwise disrespecting the privacy and safety of the neighborhood. Come on people. Put on your thinking caps on how to say YES and still have all your needs met. I'm pretty sure that Phil Lesh would have the funds needed to create and environmentally friendly building there. .... Just think of the impact that having a real recording studio in town, on the local kids? They could be inspired to join the arts, be an engineer, etc. School groups could take tours once in a while. I would be a community resource. Think of the fundraisers that could be held there! Are you all really going to turn down this opportunity, because you can't see a way in which it could all be designed to work??
chris April 11, 2011 at 06:36 PM
Hey Erika, Well said! It would be a privilege and an incredible opportunity for Fairfax. A gift, even. I agree there are ways to make this a great thing for everybody, including the close neighbors.
Claus Res April 11, 2011 at 07:49 PM
Yes great ideas Erika but we have been open minded and willing to work with GE and that didn't turn out well for us. We need to have solutions up front or we will fight this as hard as possible. I would love to have our cake and eat it to, just not sure if that is realistic.
Alex Zwissler April 11, 2011 at 07:55 PM
Agreed...some great point made here...
chris April 11, 2011 at 08:45 PM
Hi Claus Res, How were you with the supermarket that was there before the Good Earth? Was that OK with you? Earlier you said you "signed up" for living near a grocery store. At my house I "signed up" for living with a lovely open hill in my back yard. For 9 years it remained a lovely open hill and I had privacy there. Then several houses were built adjacent to my back yard, and I have no more privacy there. That is the the nature of the ever changing world we live in. You say Good Earth is zoned residential which surprises me, given that building has always been commercial, and all the adjacent land on SFD is commercial. You choose to live directly adjacent to a business district. There are obviously things that come with that... parking issues,traffic issues, noise issues, people issues. If it is already as bad as you say in your neighborhood, maybe this change could be an opportunity for you to address your current issues to the city and make things better for your neighborhood than they are now!
Claus Res April 11, 2011 at 11:25 PM
Hi Chris, I personally was not here prior to Good Earth but many of the neighbors have been. I am sure if you had the option to fight the homes moving in behind you would have. It is funny everyone I mention the new venue to all say what a great thing then I tell them the location and the distance to my home and they say I AM SORRY. I was shocked to find out it was residentially zoned too but recently a neighbor moved in and had a sound engineer come out and test the noise and said it was significantly higher than allowed. When this neighbor present it to the city they said they have been checking for Commercial not residential all these years. Needless to say the noise has been improved in recent months!
keo April 12, 2011 at 12:22 PM
Why do you have a neighbor who moved in recently and went right out and had a sound engineer come test the noise. Was this so he could be a thorn in the local councils side. Why would you move some place like Claus circle if you were concerned about noise ? Strange choice this neighbor made.
I just love crows. April 12, 2011 at 10:23 PM
Snaps for Mr. Clark and his keel. He's been fending off a series of challengers with grace and manners. Palaver of this sort tends to turn insulting quickly and to career off the subject just as fast. Inside me head I say, "Well you're silly for thinking that and I disagree with what you say." But he's got a little Confucian thing going here and his behavior influenced me to keep those thoughts to myself out of respect for the gentlemanly tone he's maintained, (future footnote to local musical history that he is) Thank you Mr. Brad
Brian April 17, 2011 at 08:12 PM
Echoing the last comment, Brad and Claus Res are to be commended on their tone. Better to acknowledge and seek to accommodate their concerns than to belittle them. I, like many others, want very much to see Terrapin Landing happen and think it would be an amazing addition to the Town and its other businesses, but demonizing those who disagree - especially those who may be impacted disproportionately -gets us nowhere. Thanks to Brad, Claus Res, and others for setting an example.
Matt Towers August 03, 2011 at 11:11 PM
Brad I think it is fine for you to express your objection and that and those of your neighbors should be considered and weighted against other opinions. I also think that if you care about the community you would side with the majority decision (whatever that is). I agree traffic is and will be a problem, maybe this will spur a more comprehesive solution.


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