Kevin Hoskins
3 min readMar 12, 2015

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I had the honor of hosting Dan Shea and Sam Potrykus in the Venue Management class I teach at Bay State College on Monday.

Dan Shea started putting on shows in Boston in 2001. He heads up the 501(c)(3) non-profit BRAIN Arts Organization as well as the Boston Hassle website and event series and has put on shows at various and myriad sympathetic music (and otherwise) venues all over the Greater Boston area. He throws a number of festivals each year, including Boston Hassle Fest.

He is also the Music Editor of the Boston Compass, a listing of local underground shows and unique art / film/ comedy experiences & a medium for different kinds of 2D art distributed for free throughout the greater Boston area.

As director of the Dan also plays music, writes for NPR’s The Artery, and lives in JP with his wife and son.

Sam Potrykus started putting on shows in the greater Boston area in 2005. He co-runs the Bodies of Water Shows and Boston Hassle Shows entities which host between 5–12 shows a month in the area. He has put on shows at various house venues, rents function halls and VFWs, finds alternative spaces such as art galleries and churches, regularly books at clubs and bars like Great Scott, The Middle East, and O’Briens and has recently begun doing shows at The Sinclair. He and his partner Dan Shea book and run an annual festival — Boston Hassle Fest. — now in it’s 7th year.

He is the Editor-In-Chief of the Boston Compass newspaper, a listing of local underground shows and unique art / film experiences distributed for free throughout the greater Boston area. He is also the director of the BRAIN Arts Organization.

We spoke about Dan’s background, how he starting going to shows at The Rat as a teenager, how that led him to look for more alternative viewpoints expressed in music, and how that led him to booking house shows and alternative venues.

Sam spoke of throwing shows at his parent’s house and touring as a 16-year-old and how that took him on a 45 day tour of the States. He got to see all the awesome things happening in other cities and wanted that for Boston.

Dan and Sam have put on shows in houses, churches, Elks lodges and VFWs, art galleries, video stores, warehouses, tv studios, schools, and community centers. While they do throw shows in more traditional “legitimate venues,” they focus on creating a more ideal music community in Boston, one that features greater interaction between the people putting on the shows, attending the shows, and playing the shows.

In addition to the shows they put on, Dan and Sam, through the BRAIN Arts Organization, are leading efforts to bring more small to mid-size performance spaces, affordable living space, and affordable work / practice space to the Boston area.

They are working to open a “volunteer run, multi-functional space constantly filled with music and art, and offering workshops to volunteers and community members.”

If you’re interested in getting involved with what Dan and Sam are working on, contact them at bostonhassle[@]gmail.com.

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