News & Politics

48 Empty Tables on the Mall Will Represent How the Pandemic Has Clobbered the Live Events Business

"The Empty Event" will include a vacant stage and empty trailers as well

Photographs by Dan Swartz.
Coronavirus 2020

About Coronavirus 2020

Washingtonian is keeping you up to date on the coronavirus around DC.

A group called the Live Events Coalition plans to set up 48 empty tables on the National Mall Wednesday evening to highlight how the coronavirus pandemic has pummeled its members’ businesses.

Each of the tables near 12th Street, Northwest, will be dressed, the coalition says, and will represent a quarter million of the 12 million workers—including caterers, engineers, and planners—it says have been affected and send a signal to Congress that they need federal support. The empty tables will form a large “12.” The group also promises empty trailers, an empty stage and production sets, and a big LED screen.

The coalition is based in the District, and its members include local companies like Arlington’s Dufour Collaborative and DC’s Bravo! Events. Live events like galas, fundraisers, and awards shows have been walloped by the pandemic, as many media companies that relied on revenue from them (including the Atlantic and Washingtonian) have learned with some pain. The concert industry is similarly threatened: As I.M.P. spokesperson Audrey Fix Schaefer wrote in the Washington Post last week, if the shutdown lasts more than six months, 90 percent of independent venues “would fold forever.”

The “Empty Event”‘s tables will go up on the Mall Wednesday evening and be lighted this evening; they’ll be on view Thursday from 6 AM till noon.

Don’t Miss Another Big Story—Get Our Weekend Newsletter

Our most popular stories of the week, sent every Saturday.

Or, see all of our newsletters. By signing up, you agree to our terms.
Senior editor

Andrew Beaujon joined Washingtonian in late 2014. He was previously with the Poynter Institute, TBD.com, and Washington City Paper. His book A Bigger Field Awaits Us: The Scottish Soccer Team That Fought the Great War was published in 2018. He lives in Del Ray.

SIGN UP
We engage readers directly in their mailboxes with topics like Health, Things to Do, Best Brunches, Design & Shopping, and Real Estate. Get the latest from our editors today.
Get The Best Of Washingtonian In Your Inbox!