The Anthem is Open, Beckoning Huge Acts to DC’s Only Mid-Sized Venue

D.C.’s newest music venue, The Anthem, opens at The Wharf on the Southwest Waterfront Thursday, Oct. 12 with headlining band Foo Fighters.

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Even Dave Grohl, front man for the Foo Fighters, praised The Anthem for its stellar design.n
n"[The Anthem] has the illusion of a stadium, but the intimacy of a nightclub. It's perfect. Every vantage point is the best seat in the house. I mean, they really put a lot of thought into the audience perspective. Doesn't matter where you are: on the floor, in a balcony, at the bar, you're going to feel close to the band."n
nThe highly-anticipated music performance space will be operated by I.M.P., a D.C. based independent promotion and production company that runs some of the District's major venues, including the 9:30 Club, Merriweather Post Pavilion and the Lincoln Theatre.
nThe Anthem can accommodate between 2,500 and 6,000 people -- which is unique for D.C., Audrey Schaefer, communications director of I.M.P. and the 9:30 Club, said.n
n“There is no mid-size music place in the D.C. area. The 9:30 Club holds 1,200, Merriweather Post Pavilion holds 18,000 and the Lincoln Theater holds 1,200. [The Anthem] gives bands and artists that might not be ready for an arena like Capital One a chance to perform in a more intimate space,” said Schaefer.
It’s far from a stadium-sized venue, but The Anthem is attracting huge names in music. The venue has sold out several shows, including Bon Iver, Odesza, Queens of the Stoneage and The Killers. A week before its opening, The Anthem had scheduled over 40 shows.
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Dave Grohl will get to see The Anthem post-construction on Oct. 12 when his band, Foo Fighters, headlines the opening night. The sounds of rock anthems like “Everlong” and “The Pretender” will reverberate through the venue. Good luck going, though -- the show sold out within minutes of going on sale, and The Anthem isn't allowing tickets to be resold.
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LCD Soundsystem’s tickets sold in a flash, but the "Dance Yrself Clean" rockers booked a second show. They’ll take the stage for two nights in October.
On Nov. 14, folk rock legend Bob Dylan will grace the stage with Mavis Staples.
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Erykah Badu will take over The Anthem Nov. 18.
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In total, over 40 acts are on the bill through April 2018, concluding with Lorde.n
nYears of effort have gone into bringing The Anthem to life – and the venue’s fate has long been tied to the billion-dollar development on The Wharf spearheaded by real estate developer Mary Hoffman, CEO of PN Hoffman.n
nHoffman was interested in bringing a concert venue to The Wharf from the beginning.n
nThen, eight years ago, he met 9:30 Club co-owner Seth Hurwitz.n
nHurwitz had learned in 35 years in the music industry what bands and fans needed to have a good time.n
nHurwitz and Hoffman shared a vision for what would make a successful concert venue.n
nSo, Hurwitz’s company I.M.P. teamed up with PN Hoffman design the venue, which balances careful architectural design and detailed attention to production elements.n
nThe designers want the fan experience to begin before the show -- on The Wharf.
Concertgoers will stroll along the Potomac and toward the classic, theater-style box office.n

nYou can grab a drink at one of seven bars before settling in for a show – anywhere gives you a great view of the stage, The Anthem promises.n
nInside, visitors are welcomed with a three-story lobby with a swimming pool overhead.
Abby Vesoulis
The floor in front of the stage may get you up-close and personal with the artist, but Schaefer promises the balconies provide a unique perspective, too.n
And don’t worry about wearing those cute but totally uncomfortable shoes, either. On the second and third floors, you’ll find balconies fitted with special chairs. The Anthem promises that every chair perfectly faces the stage, and they’re stacked so you can see everything – not just the hair of that tall guy in front.n
n“It has perfect sightline no matter whether you are standing or sitting,” Schaefer said.n
nA movable stage bend to the needs of the crowd – small shows will have as little awkward empty space as sold out concerts.
Richie Downs
But choosing a name for the venue took years, Schaefer said.n

n“All the names we would think of had already been taken, but every single act has their own top three or five anthems that fans are waiting to hear every night. For Foo Fighters it may be “My Hero” or for The Killers it could be “Mr. Brightside”.nBoth The Anthem and The Wharf open on Oct. 12.n
n“I wake up with butterflies in my stomach because I cannot wait for opening day,” said Schaefer.n
nDoors will typically open at 6:30 p.m. and the many shows will begin at 8 p.m. Ticket holders are advised to arrive early. More information for directions can be found on their website.
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