Some of the Top Vendors Taking Over Shakedown This Summer


You can’t talk about the Grateful Dead without giving a nod to their die-hard fanbase, the “Deadheads.” This cult-like following took band fandom to a new level, creating a subculture that had its own economy, running wild on what came to be known as “Shakedown Streets” or “Shakedown Lots” – impromptu bazaars that popped up in parking lots at Dead shows.

“Shakedown Street,” named after the Dead’s 1978 album and title track, became the go-to name for these traveling marketplaces. They were the epicenter for all things Dead – a spot where fans could kick it, trade, and buy everything from food and handmade trinkets to bootleg merch rocking the band’s iconic imagery.

And speaking of bootleg merch, these pop-up Shakedown Streets were a treasure trove. Deadheads came correct with unlicensed gear featuring the band’s legendary symbols – think the “Steal Your Face” skull, the marching dancing bears, and terrapins. T-shirts, posters, patches – you name it, the Deadheads were slinging it.

Even crazier? The band was pretty chill about the whole thing. They knew their fans weren’t just followers, they were part of a community, a tribe. They let the bootleg merch slide, marking a major departure from how most bands handle their intellectual property rights.

Obviously, it’s gotta be said – selling bootleg merch is straight-up illegal, but the Dead’s attitude towards it has sparked debates within the music world. Today, the legend of the Shakedown Streets lives on, at concerts, festivals and online, where Deadheads are still trading and selling merch and memories. The Dead’s communal attitude to bootlegging has had a ripple effect, influencing other bands and reshaping the conversation about artists, their brand, and their fans.

Fast forward to 2023, two of the four remaining founding members of the Dead (Bob Weir and Mickey Hart) are set to embark on their final US tour under the “Dead & Company” moniker alongside John Mayer, Oteil Burbidge, Jay Lane and Jeff Chimenti. With “the music set to stop”, artists of all backgrounds and styles will flock to the parking lots and campgrounds surrounding these shows; some of who have been doing it since the original Grateful Dead and others who got on the bus well after Jerry Garcia’s death. With so many amazing artists and vendors on Shakedown these days, we couldn’t possibly get to all of them, but below we picked out some of our favorite’s to check out one last time on the Farewell Tour this summer.

Holy Moly Mischief // @holymolymischief

The Lot Father himself. If you don’t know Tony, you better get to know him. All kidding aside, Tony and his wife Kara are some of the nicest people on the planet and have probably hit more Shakedowns than any other vendor in the last handful of years. Their collection runs deep, and there is something for everyone here—especially for the female Dead Heads.


End1 Designs // @end1designs

Pendants, chains, rings, stones, precious metals, you name it and End1 Designs has you covered. Oh and on-the-spot grill fittings. Yes you read that correctly, Cookie at End1 will fit you for your very own custom set of grills on lot. If you’re looking to get iced out this summer, you’re going to want to make your way to his booth. 


Some Saxy Art // @somesaxyart

Andrew Sax is one of the hottest young poster artists on the scene right now—and his artwork isn’t half bad either. You’ve may have seen his work for Goose, Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, Dogs in a Pile, Dirty Heads, or many more. The Philly phenom doesn’t just design gig posters, he’s got an entire assortment of heady goods. In fact, Sax’s Dead & Co Tour shirt (in collaboration with Dyer on the Mountain) has my pick for shirt of the year in 2023.


Bout Half Past Dead // @bouthalfpastdead

If you didn’t notice by his logo, Mike is the Anarchist of Shakedown. Don’t let that fool you, he’s an absolute sweetheart. I’ll have to fact check this, but I’m pretty sure Bout Half Past Dead offers the largest selection of original shirt designs in 2023 than any other vendor on lot. Seriously—just take a look at his shop and you’ll be stunned with how deep the selection goes. From rolling papers, to dab mats, and even an F1 themed offshoot (Hash Racing), Mike put in some serious work in 2023 and it shows.


Zazzcorp // @zazzcorp

The Skeleton Queen herself. Despite being a lot superstar at this point, Helen could not be more down to earth. She literally sent out a custom holiday card she designed to all of her homies in the scene last year…who else is doing that?? Helen’s repertoire of is among the best out there, having done official artwork for Phish, My Morning Jacket, The Black Keys, Billy Strings, Jerry Garcia, The Grateful Dead, Goose, and most recently Dead & Company! Her tour shirt this year is another home-run, and dyed like a pro by her husband who runs I Would Dye For You (check him out at @_iwoulddye4u on IG)


Black Throated Mercantile


Like the song that inspired the name, the Black Throated Mercantile keeps on pourin’ in iconic hat designs. With tons of variations, styles, and materials to choose from, every head needs at least one BTM hat in their wardrobe. The online shop is currently closed for tour, so you’ll have to find them on lot from Cincinnati to San Francisco to cop a hat.

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Swamp Goods // @swampgoods

With Swamp Goods, the devil is in the details. The illustrations on the tees in this shop are second to none. Take one of this year’s designs ‘Sunshine Daydream’ example, a brilliant take on Edward Hopper’s famed oil painting  ’People in the Sun’. His hats are killer too—mainly using a washed look with color popping stitching. The vintage look Swamp Goods has honed in has given the brand it’s own unique recognizable style that shines. He’s also done some official work for bands such as Lord Huron and The National.

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