Heist Summer Series combines the upbeat, nightclub vibes of Heist with picturesque views of the District from atop the Kennedy Center. This unique nightlife experience will be open every Saturday, now through August 14.
“Our goal here was to create an experience that consumers in D.C. haven’t seen before or experienced,” says Vinoda Basnayake, principal of Versus Equity, which is Heist’s parent company. “The very fact it’s at the rooftop of the Kennedy Center is going to create an aesthetic for partying that people haven’t experienced. I think the production value we’re going to bring is going to really surprise people.”
Heist is an underground nightclub in Dupont Circle and Versus Equity is helping to bring this event to life. The pop-up series was originally set to premiere in 2020 as part of Mayor Muriel Bowser’s pilot program to resume live entertainment. Heist decided it was too good of an event to not go all in on the rollout and made the difficult decision to push it to this summer.
“We started planning this last year for the pandemic,” Basnayake says. “We are super excited because we have these amazing views, an awesome setup on the rooftop [and] really cool digital audio. We have this DJ booth set up right at the pit in the corner of the Kennedy Center rooftop, so it overlooks the water and the monuments.”
Once they started planning, they realized how much potential the event had and wanted to make it as iconic as possible, but the restraints of the pandemic were too much to navigate.
“At that point, we were just like, ‘You know what? This is too epic to do in a muted way. Let’s just wait.’”
This year, Heist is offering live music at full volume, dancers and performers interacting with guests, and a dance floor. There will be a rotating list of open-format DJs each weekend. Music will range from hip-hop to EDM to Top 40, and feature several surprise performers over the course of the eight weeks.
Table reservations have multiple options and prices. The Ultra VIP Cabana costs $1000 and is the most exclusive table, located next to the stage. Other options are the $750 Super VIP Cabana, $500 Premium VIP Cabana, $380 Grey Goose VIP Table and the $240 Moët & Chandon VIP Table. Each table comes with its own complimentary drink packages and other perks.
Heist describes itself as the people’s club. Unlike other nightclubs that tend to be exclusive and have specific dress codes, Heist doesn’t adhere to those rules. Instead, they encourage people to show up, look good, feel good and have fun.
“With the Kennedy Center, it’s just the same as normal Heist,” Basnayake says. “We want to cater to everyone. There’s a certain demographic that enjoys [the experience of nightclubs] and that’s our core clientele. We think that this outdoor activation is going to be something really unique.”
Still, Heist hopes this summer series is something that appeals to a wide diversity of District residents and dreams of it becoming an annual event. If ticket sales are any indicator, their dreams might be met. Tickets for the first Saturday sold out within a few hours.
“Even if you’re not a club[goer] or a Kennedy Center person, or this is outside of your comfort zone, I think you should check it out at least once week to see what we have to offer,” Basnayake adds. “It’s a really unique and cool elevated nightlife experience anyone would enjoy.”
Tickets are released each Tuesday for the upcoming Saturday’s reservation and start at $240. To learn more about the Heist Summer Series, visit heistsummerseries.com. Follow @heistdc on Instagram. Don’t miss the event series at the Kennedy Center, now through August 14.
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