In 2019, concert promoter I.M.P. mobilized a former food truck to sell 9:30 Club tickets.
Little did the company know that it would be sidelined due to the looming COVID-19 pandemic.
Before the pandemic, the company sent the truck around town so people could buy tickets for the 9:30 Club’s shows. But the truck didn’t rack up many miles before the venue closed because of the coronavirus restrictions.
“It has been parked for a year,” said I.M.P. spokesperson Audrey Fix Schaefer told WTOP. “We have not had a show since March 11, 2020.”
So, the company pivoted to using the truck for charity.
“We got to thinking, ‘This truck has been parked for a year, why not take it out and about and collect food for the Capital Area Food Bank?'” Schaefer said. “Everybody knows how many people have been hit by incredibly hard times with the loss of jobs and economic insecurity and also hunger, which is incredibly heartbreaking.”
Turnout was encouraging Tuesday outside 9:30 Club for the first day of donations.
“It was wonderful to see everyone in their masks with bags wanting to open up their pantry and help others,” Schaefer said. “We would love for people to donate high-fiber, low-sugar, low-sodium foods like canned beans, peanut butter, canned vegetables, pastas, grains like pasta, rice, macaroni and cheese, canned fruits, juice and healthy snacks like raisins and granola bars.”
On Thursday, the truck will park outside The Anthem on The Wharf from 11 a.m. 2 p.m.
Next week, the truck will park outside 9:30 Club again March 23 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The truck will return to The Anthem for another round next March 25 from 11 a.m. 2 p.m.
After that, follow @930thetruck on social media to see its upcoming locations.
I.M.P. operates The Anthem, 9:30 Club and Lincoln Theatre in D.C. as well as the historic Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, Maryland.
As WTOP’s Nick Ianelli reported last week, Merriweather Post Pavilion will remain closed for the foreseeable future, even though state rules allow for 50% capacity.
“The only thing worse financially than being shuttered is being partially open,” Schaefer said. “It costs so much to open and the economics of it aren’t workable unfortunately. Bands don’t want to take half as much in pay, understandably. Same with employees.”
Don’t expect I.M.P.’s locations to open anytime soon.
“We’re going to rely on a full capacity opening not just in Maryland but nationally,” Schaefer said. “Bands aren’t going to tour until there’s a pretty universal reopening across the country at full capacity. It’s too expensive for them to tour. They’re waiting it out for a while. … Our industry is reliant on a post-vaccine situation.”
Until then, I.M.P. is focusing on charity, recently raising $50,000 at its annual raffle.
“Our fans are generous and warm,” Schaefer said. “We look forward to getting to welcome everybody back into our places as soon as we’re able.”
Find more about the food drive here.