DC-area concert venues prepare for return of live music

Pedestrians walk past a sign in front of the The Anthem, a popular live music venue, displaying a message of support amid the coronavirus pandemic, on April 29, 2020, in Washington, DC. (Photo by Olivier DOULIERY / AFP) (Photo by OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images)

The operator of some of D.C.’s most popular live music venues is delighted to learn that all capacity restrictions will soon be lifted, paving the way for a return to live performances in the nation’s capital.

“Oh my goodness, we are all completely ecstatic; this is the thing that we have longed for, for a very long time,” said Audrey Fix Schaefer, communications director of I.M.P., owners of the 9:30 Club and The Anthem and operators of Lincoln Theater and Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, Maryland,

“We can’t wait to get our furloughed employees back. We can’t wait to get the fans back and the bands back and also to be part of the economic recovery in our parts of the town,” she said.

While D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser announced that many capacity restrictions would be lifted May 21 and all limits will end June 11, Schaefer cautioned that music wouldn’t immediately fill the concert halls.

“Ours is the type of business that you just can’t flip a switch and turn it back on again; we wish we could. It takes months to be able to get a concert calendar together because of the intricacies of hundreds and thousands of touring bands across the country,” she said.

However, the booking departments at some of their venues are already busy at work. In late April, Merriweather Post Pavilion released its summer lineup featuring 10 performances.

“I don’t know the exact date that we’ll be able to actually reopen our doors, but I can tell you that we’ve got the pedal to the metal to figure it out now,” Schaefer said.

Beyond bookings, the concert venues must rehire and retrain staff first as they get the buildings ready for the return of crowds.

“It will be just a glorious day when we can open up the doors of the 9:30 Club, the Lincoln Theater and The Anthem and up the street at Merriweather too,” Schaefer said.

More Coronavirus News

Looking for more information? D.C., Maryland and Virginia are each releasing more data every day. Visit their official sites here: Virginia | Maryland | D.C.

Dick Uliano

Whether anchoring the news inside the Glass-Enclosed Nerve Center or reporting from the scene in Maryland, Virginia or the District, Dick Uliano is always looking for the stories that really impact people's lives.

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