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Rachel Cooper

Inaugural Opening Concert at the Lincoln Memorial

By January 18, 2009

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The 2009 Inaugural celebration begins with a star-studded concert at the Lincoln Memorial on Sunday, January 18 at 2:30 p.m. The event will be free and open to the public, kicking off the most open and accessible Inauguration in history. It will be presented exclusively by HBO 7:00-9:00 p.m. ET on an open signal so that Americans across the country with access to cable, telcos or satellite television will be able to join in the Opening Celebration for free.

Update: If you missed the concert, you can watch it online at youtube.com.

The event will include an incredible lineup of celebrities. Musical performers scheduled for the event include Beyonce, Mary J. Blige, Bono, Garth Brooks, Sheryl Crow, Renee Fleming, Josh Groban, Herbie Hancock, Heather Headley, John Legend, Jennifer Nettles, John Mellencamp, Usher Raymond IV, Shakira, Bruce Springsteen, James Taylor, will.i.am, and Stevie Wonder. Among those reading historical passages will be Jamie Foxx, Martin Luther King III, Queen Latifah and Denzel Washington. The Rt. Reverend V. Gene Robinson will give the invocation.

Public gates open at 8:00 a.m. EST at the following locations:
  • Public Entry A: Constitution Avenue at 19th Street
  • Public Entry B: Constitution Avenue at Virginia Avenue
  • Public Entry C: 17th Street at North Elm Walk
  • Public Entry D: 17th Street at South Elm Walk
  • Public Entry E: Independence Avenue at the DC War Memorial
The Reflecting Pool area, JFK Hockey Fields and Constitution Gardens are open to the public and space will be available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Security
Restricted items for the Lincoln Memorial grounds for the Inaugural Opening Ceremonies include firearms, ammunition, explosives, weapons of any kind, aerosols, supports for signs, packages, coolers, thermal or glass containers, backpacks, bags and signs exceeding the size restrictions of 6"X4"X8", laser pointers, animals other than helper/guide dogs, structures, bicycles, and any other items determined to be a potential safety hazard.

Getting There
In anticipation of large crowds attending the Inauguration Opening Ceremony, the best way to get to the Lincoln Memorial is to take Metro. The following stations are walkable: Farragut North, Metro Center, Farragut West, McPherson Square, Federal Triangle, Smithsonian, L’Enfant Plaza and Archives-Navy Memorial-Penn Quarter stations. Arlington Memorial Bridge will be closed and the Theodore Roosevelt Bridge is closed to traffic, but pedestrians are permitted to cross. See more about road closures. Parking and shuttle service will be available at RFK Stadium. People wishing to drive may park their cars at RFK and shuttle buses will bring them to Independence Avenue between 7th and 9th Streets.

See a complete guide to the 2009 Inauguration

Comments

January 14, 2009 at 11:56 am
(1) Sharon Signor says:

Can I bring a folding chair to this opening concert at the Lincoln Memorial? Can I bring a camera and a video camera to this event?

January 14, 2009 at 12:16 pm
(2) dc says:

These are all of the details officially announced. Looks like cameras and chairs are okay.

January 14, 2009 at 12:37 pm
(3) MIKOL says:

WTF IS SHAKIRA GONNA BE DOING THERE? SHAKING HER ASS AT THE PRESIDENT DURING HIS SPEECH?…SO STUPID, OUT OF ALL THE ARTISTS THEY COULD BRING…AHHHH!

January 14, 2009 at 12:41 pm
(4) Tina says:

How do you get ‘free’ tickets to the Children’s/Youth Concert at Verizon Center?

January 14, 2009 at 1:58 pm
(5) D. Raviv says:

Can I bring a stroller to the Lincoln Memorial Event on Sunday?

January 14, 2009 at 2:31 pm
(6) BK says:

Stollers and chairs are not allowed at either the concert at the Lincoln Memorial or the Inauguration. Google: “Inauguration” and you will get this information.

January 14, 2009 at 2:46 pm
(7) Nancy says:

SHAKIRA IS THE BEST !!!! i AM SO HAPPY THEY INVITED HER :)

January 14, 2009 at 3:08 pm
(8) Karen says:

Can I bring a purse, or is that considered a bag?

January 14, 2009 at 3:17 pm
(9) Carla says:

Karen:
You can bring a purse.

January 14, 2009 at 3:19 pm
(10) wa1den says:

Amazing to me the negativism and prejudice some folks choose to display – highlighted by the usual gutter-level of expression. Shakira is definitely a great choice for this. Obviously some folks’ knowledge about her is very superficial. Besides incredible talent & beauty, this gal has on her own volition set up schools & care for thousands of children, and is a major campaigner for care/protection of children and also against violence in the world (such as her country has suffered from for so long). I am thrilled that she will be there – WElCOME TO THE U.S.A. SHAKIRA!!!!!!
WE NEED MORE LIKE YOU!!!

January 14, 2009 at 10:43 pm
(11) Melissa says:

SHAKIRA IS THE BEST!

January 14, 2009 at 11:58 pm
(12) Christin says:

How exciting! Regardless of how you feel about Obama as a person or a president, it is absolutely AMAZING that so many Americans are fired up over his coming presidency!!!

January 15, 2009 at 7:13 am
(13) fuzzybear says:

Shakira will add just the right amount of heat to a
cold weather event

January 15, 2009 at 11:22 am
(14) Grace Holmes says:

I have rented two scooters to get around in in DC. Are these acceptable for the Lincoln Memorial concert on January 18?

January 15, 2009 at 11:23 am
(15) adam says:

This concert is the day before the inauguration. there will be no shakira booty shaking at the swearing in, only aretha franklin booty shaking

January 15, 2009 at 11:58 am
(16) dc says:

Grace – Bicycles are not allowed so scooters probably aren’t either.

January 15, 2009 at 2:26 pm
(17) Grce says:

The scooters I’m talking about are the ones for senior citizens or persons with injuries–three wheel or four-wheeled ones? Are you sure these won’t be allowed in?

January 15, 2009 at 2:37 pm
(18) dc says:

I know, but I am not sure. Try calling the National Park Service at (202) 426-6841

January 15, 2009 at 2:53 pm
(19) Monica says:

Do you have the schedule of the shows and the time that the bands will play?

January 15, 2009 at 3:42 pm
(20) art brennan says:

Will the Arlington Memorial Bridge be open for pedestrians for the Sunday Inauguration Concert?

January 15, 2009 at 4:39 pm
(21) ed says:

who cares…all these artist are worthless americans who perfer terrorist to americans

socialism has come home to america

1/20/09: america held hostage- day 1

January 15, 2009 at 9:59 pm
(22) Kim says:

We’ve been held hostage for the last 8 years of idiots running the country.
1/20/09 is the first day we get our country back.
Remember: Dissent is the highest form of patriotism. We’ll finally have a party in control that isn’t a herd of sheep following the flawed herder.

January 15, 2009 at 10:37 pm
(23) Sylvia says:

I just want to be sure, before I get there. Are cameras allowed at the concert, the swearing in and parade? Are folding chairs allowed at the Sunday concert? (New Orleans)

January 16, 2009 at 4:19 am
(24) Mike says:

This concert is amazing!! Im supposed to get in monday morning but am considering changing my flight to get in at 3:45pm Sunday at Dulles….do you think it makes sense? Any place in DC to drop of my bags so I dont have to go to my place to stay in MD? Will I make it to get to see any of the concert?

January 16, 2009 at 6:05 am
(25) dc says:

Art – Memorial Bridge will be closed to pedestrian traffic http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/01/14/AR2009011403529.html

Sylvia – I haven’t seen any mention of chairs, you can try, but I would suggest just bringing a blanket

Mike – The concert is from 2:30-4 p.m. There is no way that you’ll make it. It will be on tv from 7-9pm.

January 16, 2009 at 10:34 am
(26) jrm says:

Where can we get a map that shows all of the road closures and bridge closings around the Lincoln Memorial on Sunday, 1/18?

January 16, 2009 at 11:20 am
(27) Geno says:

So, if I can bring a blanket, can I bring is in a backpack?

January 16, 2009 at 12:28 pm
(28) Cristin says:

Are soft-sided lunch bags allowed as long as they’re within the 8x6x4 size limit? I have one that has an over the shoulder strap that i’d like to put a sandwich, hand warmers, etc. in and use as a purse. I don’t know if that’s considered a cooler.

January 16, 2009 at 12:46 pm
(29) Sue says:

ONCE AND FOR ALL…NO CHAIRS (listed as ‘structures’ on the official list) or BACKBPACKS or BLANKETS are allowed! NOTHING over the 8 x 6 x 4 size limit is allowed at the concert on Sunday at the Lincoln Memorial or Tuesday at the Inauguration (or parade). Keep in mind, if you bring something that is NOT allowed it will be confiscated and NOT RETURNED. Check out the link in this comment for details. I know its a bummer about not being able to bring a chair (I was going to), but dress comfortably and you should be ok.

January 16, 2009 at 12:47 pm
(30) Nancy says:

It says gates open @ 8:00am, but the concert doesn’t start until 2:30pm. What time do you think we’d have to arrive to actually be able to get in, have a space?

January 16, 2009 at 12:55 pm
(31) Geno says:

Hi Sue,

I agree with everything you’ve said, but the blankets. I have heard no restriction on a blanket. I don’t think the “banner” size applies and have reviewed every bit of posted material and not seen a blanket restriction reference anywhere.

That being said, please don’t bring a blanket on my suggestion. I will likely bring one, but that’s just me. If you (Sue) or anyone else has seen an explicit direction against bring a blanket to sit on, please post the link.

Thanks to all who are contributing! I wish a everyone a lovely time :-)

January 16, 2009 at 1:37 pm
(32) Geno says:

Post Script…

Blankets are allowed for the Lincoln Memorial concert. You CAN NOT bring them in a bag and chairs are NOT allowed, but a simple blanket to sit on is allowed!

If you have any questions, call the Secret Service directly:
Office of Government and Public Affairs
245 Murray Drive,
Building 410,
Washington, DC 20223
202-406-5708
E-mail Public Affairs

January 16, 2009 at 3:31 pm
(33) Mike says:

The concert only goes until 4, with that big a lineup?

January 16, 2009 at 4:30 pm
(34) Patrick says:

I have the same question.. just 90 minutes?

January 16, 2009 at 5:27 pm
(35) herb landis says:

Does anyone know if there will be plenty of food kiosks either on the mall or PA avenue?

January 16, 2009 at 5:37 pm
(36) dc says:

Jrm and Everyone else – I’ve added some information above about transportation.

I don’t know anything more about allowed items other than what is on the above list.

Nancy – I can’t tell you what time to get there, large crowds are anticipated.

Mike and Patrick – The concert will be around the theme “We Are One” so it will be inspiring patriotic music, not performances focused on the particular artists. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/01/12/AR2009011203499.html

Herb – Yes there will be vendors selling food and souvenirs.

January 16, 2009 at 7:34 pm
(37) cdog says:

shakira is one of the best performers on the list, thank god for someone who is community minded and representing the latinos of this nation.

January 16, 2009 at 11:22 pm
(38) elizabeth says:

Will the Smithsonian/other museums be open on January 19, 2009?

January 17, 2009 at 12:05 am
(39) gina says:

Where do you go to will-call to pick up ball tickets? Mine have not arrrived here in CA and only have a receipt. Will that get me in to the ball without the ticket?
g

January 17, 2009 at 2:07 am
(40) Faith says:

I doubt that Shakira will be shaking her booty in some skimpy clothes in 2 degree whether.

January 17, 2009 at 7:10 am
(41) Rachel Cooper says:

Elizabeth – Yes the Smithsonian will be open, most of them are open on Jan. 20 as well

Gina – There are lots of balls, so I have no idea. Check with whoever you purchased it from.

January 17, 2009 at 9:57 am
(42) dj says:

no chairs, no pedestrian traffic on the memorial bridge.

January 17, 2009 at 12:20 pm
(43) Yza says:

MIKOL-Shakira has a long list of humanitarian and philanthropic projects that she is responsible for. So I don’t think she will be there to just “shake her ass” at the President. Maybe she is there to help the new president enlighten people to service!!!!

January 17, 2009 at 1:58 pm
(44) Ryan says:

Thanks Rachel – the detail is fantastic, and hard to find without you!:-)

January 17, 2009 at 3:36 pm
(45) Lucy says:

Is it crazy to think about bring a 7 month old baby to either the concert or the inaguration?

January 17, 2009 at 3:45 pm
(46) dc says:

Yes, it is going to be very cold and in such a large crowd you won’t be able to get around very easily. Transportation is going to be very slow and tight quarters. I would suggest staying home with a young child or finding a babysitter.

January 17, 2009 at 3:59 pm
(47) Mark says:

What is a good time to get there?? I was going to leave at like 1? The only thing I am bringing is a blanket and feet warmers :)

January 17, 2009 at 5:07 pm
(48) Shulamit says:

This is from the official Inauguration site, and it seems you CAN bring blankets, since it says you SHOULD.

What to Wear

There is no official dress code for the swearing-in ceremonies. We recommend you dress for a very cold day.

Expect to be outside for more than three hours, to stand in line, and to walk for long periods of time. Dress in layers and wear a winter coat. Consider wearing comfortable shoes, gloves, a hat and a scarf, and bringing a blanket.

Please note that umbrellas will not be permitted within the ticketed area. We recommend that attendees bring ponchos or rain coats in case of rain or other inclement weather.

January 17, 2009 at 8:38 pm
(49) Ruth says:

Will the special forces band also be performing at the Lincoln Memorial? Will they be performing “Lincoln Portrait’ by Aaron Copland since they will be at the Lincoln Memorial?

January 17, 2009 at 9:33 pm
(50) kelso says:

does anyone know if there is any way to view the concert on sunday if i dont have HBO???? i would really appriciate the help! Thank you!

January 17, 2009 at 9:37 pm
(51) christina says:

are we allowed to bring food cause me and my friends are going and teenagers get hungry

January 17, 2009 at 9:50 pm
(52) JAMES says:

I LIVE HERE IN DC AND MY GIRLFRIEND IS FROM HAMPTON, VA, SHE WANTS TO GO DOWN TO THE SHOW AND SINCE I KNOW THE WAY TO GET THERE WITHOUT TAKING METRO, ITS TO BE A DATE. NOT NOW!! THE WEATHER WILL BE COLD AND WE HAVE NO GUARANTEE TO GET TO SEE THE SHOW NEAR THE STAGE. WE WOULD HAVE TO BE THERE INLINE OR WHAT EVER THEY WE HAVE TO GET IN AND THATS 4 HOURS B4 THE SHOW STARTS. YES THIS IS HISTORY. BUT WITH ALL THESE ARTIST COMING, SOMEONE IS NOT GOING TO SHOW. U CAN NOT HAVE 10 ARTIST PERFORM IN A 2HR PERIOD. SOMEONE WILL DO HALF A SONG OR JUST WALK OUT ON THE STAGE AND WAVE HELLO. THATS NOT A CHANCE I’M WILLING TO TAKE, BUT I LOVE MY GIRLFRIEND SO WE WILL SEE WHAT SHE HAS TO SAY ABOUT ME NOT GOING. OH YEAH, IF U ARE NOT THERE BY 7AM, DONT BTHER COMING BECAUSE U WILL BE STUCK LOOKING AT A LARGE TV SCREEN IN 24 DEGREE WEATHER. IF U CANT GET TO THE STAGE ITS NOT WORTH IT. WATCH HBO

January 18, 2009 at 2:33 am
(53) ivana says:

Okay my fellow shallow minded, red-necked friends… you’ve done it again.. You’ve proven it once again; you’ve never failed. Judging from your lines above, you are not yet capable of seeing beyond a beautiful bootie… what a shame, not being able to capture anything beyond aesthics, which although captivating, please do not miss the subtance in the process. Experience the whole package. You are getting beauty, you are getting brains, you are getting talent. Come to think of it, this may be way beyond your league. Evolve!

January 18, 2009 at 7:12 am
(54) dc says:

Kelso – The concert will be broadcast on an open signal which means as long as you have cable or satellite you can see it. Check your guide. Mine is on channel 101 but yours may be different.

Christina – Food is allowed, but coolers are not. So bring a sandwich or snack in your pocket. Food vendors will be available also.

January 18, 2009 at 7:43 am
(55) sana says:

Can we bring a camera? also can I carry a small lady bag? or purse

January 18, 2009 at 8:06 am
(56) Mary says:

It’s not fair it’s on a cable channel! What about those of us who don’t have cable??

January 18, 2009 at 8:40 am
(57) dc says:

Cameras are fine and a small purse is okay.

I am leaving for the concert and will not be answering any more questions. Have fun everyone!

January 18, 2009 at 11:21 am
(58) rep says:

IS PETE SEEGER GOING TO PERFORM?????????

January 18, 2009 at 11:41 am
(59) renata says:

Lucy- yes it’s absolutely crazy to try and
bring a baby to something like that! Babies
skin and lungs are much more fragile than
an adults and freeze much faster. I think you
knew that when you asked. I went somewhere like this where someone had a 9 mo old and felt so sorry for the baby. Just watch on Tv-
a mother and grandmother who can’t believe some of the things I see people doing- saw
a 4 yr old with nothing on her feet except clogs at Chinese New Year in 20degree weather. Renata

January 18, 2009 at 1:19 pm
(60) Kurt says:

Has anyone seen a list of who is performing when?

January 18, 2009 at 1:32 pm
(61) jen says:

Beyonce, Mary J. Blige, Bono, Garth Brooks, Sheryl Crow, Renee Fleming, Josh Groban, Herbie Hancock, Heather Headley, John Legend, Jennifer Nettles, John Mellencamp, Usher Raymond IV, Shakira, Bruce Springsteen, James Taylor, will.i.am, and Stevie Wonder.
Bt they will not sing their regular songs. They will sing some patriotic songs in accordance with the theme.

January 18, 2009 at 1:41 pm
(62) janet says:

Can we see the concert online anywhere?

January 18, 2009 at 1:45 pm
(63) MIKOL says:

Me prejudice? you dont know what ur talking about…Im spanish just like Shakira for your information and the reason i think its appalling that she would b here is that she is a hypocrite who shakes her ass for the world, and sells her music through her skimpy clothes and then turns around and promotes unicef causes…she used to be a role model artist back in the day when she started singing but then she sold out to the american industry and started taking her clothes off…why do ppl love shakira, not cause of her music but her girating hips? ask any guy!!

January 18, 2009 at 2:24 pm
(64) rene says:

The most ignorant comment, from any one who does not know how Shakira has contributed to society.

January 18, 2009 at 3:13 pm
(65) jonica boland says:

why can’t we see the concert now, while it is happening!

January 18, 2009 at 4:23 pm
(66) cher says:

Why can’t Americans watch the concert in our capitol on all stations like it always has been before? Is this the “change” we can expect? We have to pay to watch the happenings in our capitol? Thanks a lot Mr. Obama

January 18, 2009 at 4:25 pm
(67) Phil says:

Tune in tonight folks. The concert is excellent. A great mix of words and music. Being broadcast live in the UK now. Beyonce singing America The Beautiful – a true class act. I wonder why you have to wait until the evening to watch it on HBO.

Have a great week.

January 18, 2009 at 4:33 pm
(68) pamelaca says:

i just watched the end of it on http://www.hbo.com and it is repeating there later today.

January 18, 2009 at 5:02 pm
(69) City of Tours says:

Your blog has a great deal of information for those still planning to attend, like I said on my forum I wish them all the best getting there. The atmosphere will be unreal and while I am opting to watching the ceremony on CNN and I know I am missing out big time. If any of you made it there then post a message on my forum and tell us all about it.

January 18, 2009 at 6:20 pm
(70) mark says:

I was shocked at how poorly organized the crowd control was. It seemed the authorities only watched the chaos rather than trying to prevent it. No one was in charge of the lines feeding the security checks. I had asked a Military Guard to help control an angry crowd at 17th & Constitution and was shocked to hear him reply “I hope trouble does break out”. At that point I turned around and left DC. If this was a dry run for the Inauguration, they FAILED. If they cant control this crowd, they certainly won’t be able to control the huge number of people expected on Tuesday. God help those that go to the Inauguration. I’d stay far away from it.

January 18, 2009 at 6:53 pm
(71) M. Mayer says:

It is misleading to say this concert is free to those who have cable. Not so. Only if you have some sort of specialized cable, not even regular cable which, after all, is elite in itself. Sorry to see the kick off to change be marred in this way. The show is incredible. (I went to a friend’s who has all the appropriate cable.) Wish I could have seen it at home; wish my sick brother could have seen it; wish my daughter could have seen it.

January 18, 2009 at 7:44 pm
(72) Blair Davidson says:

It was so cold there today.
Barack, I have faith in the
American system of government.
President Obama I also have faith
in you.

January 18, 2009 at 8:37 pm
(73) Mary P. says:

I agree with M. Mayer. Ifeel like HBO deceived us! Obviously HBO dropped the ball on coordinating w/cable co’s to make this accessible like they had advertised. They did not arrange w/my local cable co. to make this happen. HBO should not have received the exclusive rights to broadcast if they were not prepared to make the necessary arrangements with the cable and satellite co.’s!

January 18, 2009 at 11:15 pm
(74) Pam says:

All of you people asking about chairs & blankets & sandwiches…mot one person asked about what happens when you have to go to the bathroom? That is something that is always sorely lacking in big-crowd events. People who went to the concert should post about that, so that people will be prepared when attending the Inauguration.

January 19, 2009 at 12:45 am
(75) Southwest Mom says:

I have a child who is a student traveling with her fellow classmates from a location in the Southwestern U.S. On Inauguration Day the organization that is sponsoring them in DC said dress in layers, bring a camera, wallet, ziplock bag with snacks, no canned or glass drinks, pancho and a garbage bag to sit on. That is basically what they said is allowed. They also said be prepared to walk several miles and to be out in cold for up to 6 hours. I hope this helps someone. They also said all texting and I am assuming phones will be scrambled for 2 hours before and after the inauguration. Just FYI and that is what my 15 year old and her school has planned for. We didn’t expect this when they started planning for this in May. Everyone be safe and enjoy this historic event!! From a worried mom in the great southwest!!

January 19, 2009 at 1:00 am
(76) Mary P. says:

P.S> – I did watch the concert broadcast on http://www.hbo.com. Thanks to someone here who mentioned that option. All I can say is WOW!!! Don’t miss it!

January 19, 2009 at 9:30 am
(77) lesveg says:

The concert was excellent BUT …
I am outraged that HBO excluded Bishop Robinson’s prayer from your broadcast of the inaugural celebration Sunday and also failed to state that the Washington Gay Men’s Chorus performed with Josh Groban. The reason clearly was not religious–other religious content was not cut. The only remaining reason is discrimination. HBO has clearly demonstrated that gay Americans are the most discriminated against citizens. A public apology from HBO to the gay community and America is in order.

January 19, 2009 at 9:00 pm
(78) monica tongewisky says:

ooohhhh my gosh i wish offert my service to president OBAMA….OOOH MY GOSH

January 19, 2009 at 10:46 pm
(79) Sharon says:

Is anyone going to make a cd of the Lincoln concert? They should. I would buy it. It was exceptional music……..

January 20, 2009 at 11:37 am
(80) Starr says:

This could be fun.

January 25, 2009 at 12:16 am
(81) ed hill says:

are dvd’s of the concert avail for sale

January 25, 2009 at 6:10 am
(82) Rachel Cooper says:

I don’t know but you can watch it on hbo.com.

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