By Julia Lerner
“We thought, ‘What if we could build the best venue not just in D.C., but in the world?’,” he told Billboard.
So that’s what he did.
The Anthem, the newest music venue in D.C., is a $60 million masterpiece, built from the ground up specifically with performers in mind.
With gourmet food, space for thousands, a swimming pool on the roof, cymbals cascading from the sky and a $3 million soundproof floor, no expense was spared.
The venue, which includes a rooftop patio on the marquee, seven bars and a full kitchen, sits on 24 acres along the waterfront in the Wharf neighborhood in D.C.
The neighborhood is still under construction at the end of a two-year reconstruction phase, funded by the city. Finishing touches are being put on a few restaurants and bars nearby, while others are open for hungry patrons following shows. In addition to traditional metro access, I.M.P. also offers water taxis to transport showgoers after shows.
The 2,500-6,000 capacity concert hall officially opened Oct. 12, with the Foo Fighters playing the inaugural show. Dave Grohl, the frontman for the Foo Fighters, told the audience it has become his “favorite venue in the world.”
The Anthem has permanently transformed the music scene in D.C. area, which is full of small venues and large venues but had nothing in between.
“The small venues can support anywhere from 50-1,200” people, and the larger venues, like Merriweather Post Pavilion, support 18,000 said Audrey Fix Schaefer, I.M.P’s Communications Director. “That’s a really big gap … We’re here with space for 6,000 … which is the perfect size for in-between.”
Hurwitz wanted the Anthem to be reminiscent of the 9:30 club and worked with artists to keep the mid-size venue intimate.
“We can move the stage up, so the room still feels full at 2,500. We’ve barely had to do that because the artists have been selling so well,” said Schaefer. “Artists want to feel the energy from the fans and fans want to feel like they’re at a show that everybody cares about.”
“The response has been phenomenal,” said Schaefer. “We worked so hard to create something and we hoped it’s going to be something that people would love. You just have to wait until the doors open … almost every single night, artists take a moment to say something about what a beautiful place it is, and how warm it is there.”
“Nothing compares to it, and I know how that sounds, but it’s true,” said Schaefer. “People who know nothing about music are talking to me about the Anthem. There is just nothing like it.”
Featured Photo Credit: Courtesy of The Anthem’s Facebook page.
Julia Lerner is a junior journalism major and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.