The Anthem to host gun violence prevention concert before March for Our Lives

Media Credit: Kevin Chen | Contributing Photo Editor

Stay Amped: A Concert to End Gun Violence will begin at 7:30 p.m. at The Anthem Friday, located at 901 Wharf St. SW.

In the wake of school shooting tragedies, activists and artists from across the country will come together in D.C. Friday for a concert to benefit gun violence prevention.

Stay Amped: A Concert to End Gun Violence will begin at 7:30 p.m. at The Anthem, a new 6,000-seat music venue located at 901 Wharf St. SW. The lineup features seven artists including G-Eazy, Fall Out Boy, Bebe Rexha and Lizzo, with additional special guests to be announced.

Tickets range from $50 to $175, where all net proceeds go toward the March for Our Lives, a student-oriented protest against gun violence taking place along Pennsylvania Avenue Saturday.

Audrey Fix Schaefer, the communications director for I.M.P., the public relations firm that represents venues like The Anthem and 9:30 Club, said the news of the Parkland shooting is how the concert came to fruition.

Donna Westmoreland, the chief operating officer for I.M.P., and Liana Huth, the vice president of programming innovation at Entercom Communications, came up with the idea to host a benefit concert after they heard the news last month and were inspired to use their industry to evoke change, she said.

“When that horrific day in Parkland, Fla. happened, the two of them were talking as they do and they said that they needed to do something about this and that enough is enough,” Schaefer said.

Schaefer said they organized the concert in just two weeks, but planning a show of this magnitude usually takes them four to six months. She added that once the two organizers got in touch with musicians they signed on “instantly” because of the importance of the cause.

“When we see tragedies like that we feel very helpless and maybe we can donate money and maybe we can go to a march,” she said. “People in my business said, ‘let’s have an event where we can create a lot of awareness and a lot of money.’”

The concert benefits two organizations dedicated to stopping gun violence. Everytown for Gun Safety is one of the largest gun violence prevention organizations in the country, with more than 4 million supporters. Giffords is a nonprofit started by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and her husband Captain Mark Kelly. All of the net proceeds raised from the concert will be given to these organizations in support of the “sister marches” taking place around the world on Saturday, Schaffer said.

Everytown for Gun Safety President John Feinblatt said in a press release for the event that “Americans should be free from gun violence at school, concerts and in our daily lives.” He said this concert will contribute to that cause.

“The night before Americans rally across the country as part of the student-led March for Our Lives, we’ll join together to honor the lives of all gun violence survivors and pledge to fight in their honors,” he said.

On the concert website, in addition to concert tickets, there are options for both $25 and $50 donations. The $25 donation will be used to support the sibling marches around the world, and the $50 donation will go toward donating concert tickets to student activists attending the march, according to the website.

The tickets are $50 for students, $100 for non-students and $175 for the Super Excellent Seats, which are located around The Anthem with perfect views of the entire stage. There are 800 of these premier seats and whenever one is purchased, a standard ticket is donated to a student who will be in D.C. for the March for Our Lives.

The March for Our Lives was spearheaded by students from Parkland, Fla., and the organizers of the concert have multiple ways for students to attend the show at a free or reduced cost. Schaefer said that Everytown will also be giving hundreds of tickets to students traveling from all parts of the country to the District this weekend.

Of the more than seven artists taking part in this endeavor, Fall Out Boy has been the band tasked with curating the lineup, according to the event’s press release. Other artists like Justin Timberlake have been using their voices nationally through social media to promote the cause and the upcoming march.

“This is a time for action. We need to support the Parkland teens, and kids across the country,” Pete Wentz of Fall Out Boy said in the release. “We have their backs, and we must demand our lawmakers do more to end this gun violence crisis.”

Schaefer said the event’s intention is for the voices from The Anthem Friday to encourage continued activism after the march and impact politicians’ views on passing gun control legislation.

“The ultimate goal, I think of everybody involved, is to impress upon legislators to enact sensible legislation to protect everyone,” she said.

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