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webpick of the week

Jerry Garcia

Music, Consumer

Jerry Garcia was the most social bandleader of all time, yet his popularity predates the Internet, the world’s most social space. Digital design firm Critical Mass needed to translate the Jerry Garcia experience to the web in a way that would allow both the site and Garcia’s legacy to thrive—a challenge, but also an opportunity to imagine what the “Deadhead” experience could be in an online universe. Critical Mass created a virtual Parking Lot, where—as with the real parking lot at Garcia’s shows—fans can claim a space all their own, connect with other fans, relive their experiences or start a long strange trip they never had the chance to take in real life. Members can click “I was there” on any show they attended and see their passion for the music reflected in detailed infographics.

There is an overwhelming amount of content about Jerry Garcia out there, but it is often scattered, unverified or contradictory. Critical Mass sifted through it all and painstakingly assembled the most comprehensive record of Garcia's life and career currently in existence, with over 3,000 photographs and 6,000 hours of music. Much of this came from professional photographers and Garcia’s friends and family, who have rights to the content but allowed their personal portfolios and keepsakes to be used on the site free of charge, a testament to Garcia’s legacy and his beliefs as an artist. The site combines the sounds of each live show with interactive maps, set lists, additional acts and related memorabilia for an online memory of what it really felt like to be on tour with the Dead. “Makes me want to get up out of this cubicle,” wrote one fan, “and get back on the bus.”