Sweating and Standing: The Anthem in a Nutshell


Isabella Mariani, Reporter

If you ever want to feel like you’ve just laid in the sun for hours in the sweltering heat of a July day and then stand shoulder to shoulder with random people, the Anthem is the place for you. 

Now I’ve been to a handful of concerts, most of which were at the Anthem, and I will probably, sadly, go back. People always told me it was one of the best places to go to concerts because “there isn’t a bad seat in the whole place” and whether that statement is inherently true or not is completely irrelevant because it is one of the worst places to go to any concert or event. 

Unnecessarily Hot 

The Anthem should be listed in the top 10 hottest places on Earth. The most recent concerts I went to at this venue were in June and July and I swear to you it felt like they had the heat on in there. And I know it’s typical for concerts to be on the warmer side because of all the people in there who are screaming, dancing, and jumping around but the heat in there is unlike anything you could ever imagine. 

At the Phoebe Bridgers concert on June 12th the concert was running a little late. There was a lot of sudden movement coming from the middle of the pit and people waving their arms. Someone’s friend was about to pass out. Security was splitting the crowd to bring this girl water and they were thankfully able to get to her in a timely manner and she was able to return and enjoy the concert. 

However this was not the truth for everybody who began to feel light headed at the concert. People who were in the front were forced to stand in the back because it got so hot up there they weren’t sure if they would be able to stand up there for the entirety of the concert. There was a girl at this show who passed out twice and threw up and people were asked to move back causing a large shift in the crowd. There was also a moment in the show when the security brought a stretcher for someone who had passed out. Because of the awful ventilation the show was stopped several times by Phoebe Bridgers herself to make sure people were getting the proper attention. 

At the end of the concert people were bum-rushing the exit in order to get out and get some air. I mean people were leaving and gasping for air, and mind you it was June and July when these concerts were happening so it was incredibly hot outside. 

“It’s kind of like I get the idea of this classic concert and everyone is standing. But it’s not good because it’s cramped and it’s so hot in there. It’s SO hot in there and there is no ventilation at all. It smells pretty bad in there too because of how hot it is.” says Grace Nelson, a junior here at Urbana who has attended a few concerts at the Anthem. 

Constant Technical Difficulties 

As if you weren’t suffering enough from the heat, wait until you hear about all of the technical difficulties faced. The difficulties were getting pretty severe during the show, affecting not only the opening acts but also the starting time of the main acts. During the opening act the screen behind the opener kept shutting off leaving the venue with no light at all. Also during the main set and opening act the mics were cutting out quite a bit. Frequently during all of the concerts I have gone to at the Anthem there were a few minutes when you could not even hear the people on stage at all. 

Even when the sound is fully functioning it overall just sounds pretty bad. The audio had poor clarity with the sounds overlapping each other. The person singing is often impossible to hear over the overdone kick and there were even times when the sound would warp so if you enjoy concerts for the sound I would not recommend going to one at the Anthem. 


One of the main issues with this venue is the way it was set up. Completely disregarding the fact that they consistently oversell tickets and it causes people who spent their money on tickets to be standing behind stairs and all the way at the entrance where the merchandise for the show is being sold. 

The main issue that happens with the anthem’s seating is the fact they have nobody to direct people to seats.  If you’ve ever been to the Anthem you know that they have the main GA standing and actual seats above this standing section. The issue is that once the show starts and people are distracted people from the top are coming down from up there to the bottom to be closer to the stage and the people who are performing. 

“It was really crowded down in the standing section. It was also really hot.” Ava-Grace Lee a sophmore who also attended the Phoebe Bridgers concert on June 12th. 

From the concert I went to, I had gotten to the Wharf (the location of the Anthem) a few hours early to be able to hang out with my friends for a while before one of the concerts. Despite this by the time we had got there the line had already wrapped fully around the dock and was now stretching down the main walkway. So we got in the line and waited for a few hours because of the fact that we had GA tickets. But after we got in, people in higher seats kept coming down to get to the barricade. 

Now, I can’t tell you to never go to a concert at the Anthem, because let’s face it, essentially anybody who plays in DC will be playing at the Anthem. All I can do is warn you that you may have one of the worst experiences of your life as you sweat more than you ever have in your life and think “why did I do this to myself?”