By Jordan Stovka
The nation’s capital will be christening its newest concert venue October 12 with Dave Grohl’s sweat and rock-melodies.
The Anthem, the city’s first mid-size venue, opens its doors this fall with a sold-out Foo Fighters show. Over the course of months following the inauguration performance, the venue will welcome acts like Phoenix, LCD Soundsystem, Zedd, Courtney Barnett & Kurt Vile, The Shins and Lorde amongst others.
Located just blocks from The National Mall, The Anthem is the first venue of its kind, according to I.M.P. Communications Director Audrey Fix Schaefer.
“There has never been a venue like it in Washington D.C.,” Schaefer said. “There is no venue of this size in D.C. to start with, and there has never been one that has been built from the ground up specifically for music.”
The facility will accommodate approximately 2,500-6,000 guests, placing it between 9:30 Club and Merriweather Post Pavilion in terms of capacity, adding another step to the “life cycle of an artist.”
“Because we work with artists from the time they’re just starting, new artists [start] in U Street Music Hall which is a 500 person venue, and then we grow them to where they can play 9:30 Club, which fits between 500 and 1,200, then will be The Anthem, which will fulfill that next big level. Then after that, we’ve got Merriweather Post Pavilion,” Schaefer said.
I.M.P. chairman and The Anthem co-owner, Seth Hurwitz, believes the concert hall fills D.C’s longtime void in “mid-sized, pure music venues.”
“For years agents asked me ‘When are you going to build the solution?’” Hurwitz said in a press release. “So we finally did.”
With ticket prices ranging from $41-175, The Anthem is on the higher end of a college student’s budget. However, University of Maryland students like senior finance and information major Adam Kellner, are hopeful of the positive impact the venue will have on the D.C. music scene.
Kellner, who frequents smaller venues like the Black Cat, DC9, Rock And Roll Hotel and 9:30 Club, believes The Anthem caters to artists who require a unique sized stage, such as Courtney Barnett or St. Vincent—making the experience worth the price tag.
“I already spent more on tickets at The Anthem than I have at any other venue this year, and they haven’t even opened yet,” said Kellner, operations director at WMUC radio. “But it seems like they’re providing a niche for bands that are probably too big for venues like 9:30 and Ram’s Head, and maybe not large enough to headline Merriweather.”
Schaefer promises The Anthem will bring in artists of varying genres, comedic performances and even theatrical shows, and the venue appearance will adapt to each performer.
“Because of the act, it’s going to look a bit different; who’s playing that night and the types of people they attract. It’s going to change all the time,” she said. “The building is like a kaleidoscope.”
Uncharacteristic of a venue hosting such big-name headliners, what is predicted to catch guests’ attention is its intimacy. Schaefer is anticipating a welcoming feeling similar to that of 9:30 Club to exude from the venue, because it will be run by the same staff as the acclaimed nightclub.
“When you walk in, hopefully you’ll feel at home like you do when you’re at the 9:30 Club,” she said. “You don’t feel like you’re in a big fat arena. It feels like you’re really close to the artist, no matter where you are in it.”
The $60 million facility is complete with a moveable stage, strategically tilted seats, seven bars and elaborate decorations, intending to emulate a one-of-a-kind experience without a bad seat in the house.
The size has left an impression on performing artists like Grohl, who describes The Anthem as having “the illusion of a stadium, but the intimacy of a nightclub,” as stated in a press release.
“The new place is set to become the number one venue in America, I shit you not,” said Grohl.
Located in The Wharf, The Anthem will be accessible by two metro stops at the Waterfront and L’Enfant Plaza. Circulator buses and water taxis will also be available.
Ticket information can be found here.
Featured Photo Credit: Courtesy of Ed Vill on Flickr.
Jordan Stovka is a junior journalism and graphic design double major and can be reached at email@example.com.