Like any reasonably-minded, concerned parent of a 17-year-old, Donna Westmoreland is opposed to President Trump’s recent kowtow to the National Rifle Association, in which his proposed solution to the gun crisis this country is not a ban on assault weapons or to raise age limits, but to arm high school teachers. Trump wants even more guns.
“It’s so ridiculous on so many levels, I can’t even,” sighs the Chief Operating Officer of I.M.P., which owns and operates the 9:30 Club, Merriweather Post Pavilion, and The Anthem, the dazzling, new, 6,000-capacity concert venue on the southwest waterfront. “When our son was a child, if there was somebody we didn’t know very well, we would ask ‘Do you have a gun in your home?’ We didn’t want him to go there if they did. So, in a school? No way. No way.”
Westmoreland is both moved and impressed by the Parkland, Florida students who are vigorously spearheading a movement to deal with the issue of gun reform in a meaningful way. “The students are coming through with a beacon-clear message that this has to change,” she says. “This is one of those frustratingly intractable [issues] where the logic is there, but for some reason, politics is keeping it from being resolved. The students are seeming to break that log jam.”
To support the cause, I.M.P. is presenting “Stay Amped,” a concert on Friday, March 23, ahead of Saturday’s March For Our Lives. Fall Out Boy is headlining the benefit — which will help Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund and Giffords produce “sibling marches” across the country — and will be joined by G-Eazy, BeBe Rexha, Lizzo, and Cam, along with “surprise superstar guests.” All artists are donating their services.
I.M.P. itself has a long history of producing concerts for social causes, including marriage equality and last year’s women’s march. “We are unabashedly liberal,” says Westmoreland. “And we’re a privately-held company. We don’t have to do that calculus of ‘What will the shareholders think?’ We feel we should support the things that we think are good and right. And so we do.”
Stay Amped is Friday, March 23, at The Anthem, 901 Wharf St. SW. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., show at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets are $50 to $175. General admission. “Super Excellent Seats,” however, are available and when purchased, a ticket is donated to a student activist attending the March for Our Lives rally. Tickets available at The Anthem, Merriweather, or 9:30 Club Box offices and online at theanthemdc.com.
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