Inauguration Week 2021: A day by day guide to events

National Mall and Washington Monument both closed to public on Inauguration Day following safety concerns

Louise Hall
Wednesday 20 January 2021 15:23 GMT
DC mayor calls for increased security surrounding inauguration
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Joe Biden’s inauguration as the United States’ 46th president will take place on 20 January, but the pandemic and insurrection at the US Capitol means this year's celebrations will look starkly different from previous events.

Officials have announced that both the National Mall and the Washington Monument will be closed to the public on the day over safety concerns. Americans are being encouraged to participate in the celebrations virtually.

In turn the Presidential Inaugural Committee (PIC) has announced a flurry of events set to be broadcast in the five days covering the inauguration to welcome the beginning of a new presidency.

Follow Biden inauguration live: Bidens attends Mass with McConnell as JLo and Bush family among first arrivals

Saturday 16 January

America United : An Inauguration Welcome Event - 7.00-8.30pm ET (12.30-1.30am GMT)

On Saturday, the PIC is hosting an inauguration welcome event with the aim of celebrating America’s changemakers in reflection of the official theme for Mr Biden’s inauguration.

The committee has said the broadcast will “reflect and honor our history, and highlight the incredible diversity of the nation.”

The event is set to feature musical performances, celebrity appearances, and remarks from some of the most popular leaders from across the country.

Whoopi Goldberg, actor Nik Dodani, comedienne and actress Cristela Alonzo, musician Darren Criss, Representative Grace Meng, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, and Resistance Revival Choir will participate. There will also be a special performance by the Grammy-nominated Black Pumas.

Stream live at and on Presidential Inaugural Committee social media pages.

Sunday 17 January

We The People Concert - 8pm ET (1am GMT)

A first of its kind virtual inaugural concert will take place on Sunday and will be hosted by Keegan-Michael Key and Debra Messing.

It will feature Ben Harper, Carole King,, Fall Out Boy, James Taylor, AJR, Michael Bivens, Connie Britton, Sophia Bush, Jaimie Camil and Cal Penn.

Monday 18 January

United We Serve: A celebration of the National MLK Day of Service  - all day

Throughout Monday, both a National Day of Service and a celebration of the day of service will take place.  

On the day, the inaugural committee is encouraging Americans across the country to volunteer in service to their communities in honor of Martin Luther King Jr Day.

An hour-long celebration of the day will be held at 8pm featuring “a diverse array of entertainers, inspiring speakers, and stories celebrating the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr” and the Biden administration.

Entertainers and speakers include Aloe Blacc, Rev Dr Bernice King, Martin Luther King III, Chesca, Rep Sharice Davids, Rosario Dawson, Andra Day, Yo-Yo Ma, Rev Al Sharpton, Sean Patrick Thomas, Diane Warren, Lynn Whitfield and Bebe Winans.

Stream live at and on the inaugural committee’s social media pages.

Tuesday 19th January  

Virtual Field Trip, presented by Discovery "I Do Solemnly Swear: The US Presidential Inauguration" - 12pm ET (5pm GMT)

Discovery Inc and Discovery Education will present a virtual learning experience to educators, students, and families which will present a greeting to students from Dr Biden and historical context for the inauguration.

Memorial and Nationwide Tribute to Remember and Honor the Lives Lost to Covid-19 - 5.30pm ET (10.30pm GMT)

A lighting ceremony will take place the evening before Inauguration Day at the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool with 400 lights marking the first-ever lighting around the pool.

The ceremony will honour the thousands of lives lost due to the Covid-19 pandemic and cities and towns around the country are being encouraged to join the memorial by illuminating buildings and ringing church bells.

Mr Biden, Dr Jill Biden, Ms Harris, and Douglas Emhoff will attend the event to light the pool alongside Cardinal Wilton Gregory, Archbishop of Washington who will deliver the Invocation.

Nationally-recognised gospel singer Yolanda Adams is scheduled to perform Hallelujah at the ceremony and 29-year old nurse Lori Marie Key with Saint Joseph Mercy Health System in Michigan will sing Amazing Grace.

Iconic buildings including the Empire State Building in New York and the Space Needle in Seattle will be illuminated alongside hundreds of towns, cities, tribes, landmarks, and communities that have committed to participating.

AAPI Inaugural Ball: Breaking Barriers - 7-8pm ET (12-1am GMT)

The PIC will join an Inaugural Ball celebrating the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities will feature remarks from AAPI organizers, political leaders, celebrities and musical, comedy, and cultural performances. 

Confirmed participants include OMB Director-designate Neera Tanden; Reps. Ami Bera, Pramila Jayapal, Andy Kim, and Raja Krishnamoorthi; former Olympian Michelle Kwan; actors Kal Penn, John Cho, Kumail Nanjiani, and Chloe Bennet; performances by Japanese Breakfast, Ari Afsar, Raja Kumar.

We Are One from 8pm-9.30pm ET (1-2.30am GMT)

We Are One is scheduled as an evening celebration to honor and celebrate all within the Black Community and African Diaspora and will feature a special performance by Tobe Nwigwe, in addition to performances by DJ D-Nice, The O’Jays, Rapsody, Step Afrika, the String Queens, the Texas Southern University Debate Team.

Terrence J will host the event which will also see appearances by Leslie Jones, Frankie Beverly, Stacey Abrams, Whip Jim Clyburn, Rep Cedric Richmond, Congressional Black Caucus Chairwoman Rep Joyce Beatty, Senator Cory Booker, Senator-Elect Rev Raphael Warnock, Kim Fields, Erika Alexander, and Jason George. 

Latino Inaugural 2021: Inheritance, Resilience, and Promise from 9.30-10.30pm ET (2.30-3.30am GMT)

An Inaugural tribute to tell the story of Latinos’ contributions to the US will be hosted by Eva Longoria and feature appearances by Lin-Manuel Miranda, John Leguizamo, Rita Moreno, Edward James Olmos, Ivy Queen, and Becky G.

Gilberto Santa Rosa and Gaby Moreno, featuring David Garza, Emilio Estefan, and All-Star Tejanos United – Stefani Montiel, Jose Posada, Shelly Lares, DJ Kane, and Mariachi Nuevo Santander from Roma High School in Roma, Texas will also perform.

The event will also include an Emilio Estefan produced performance of One World, One Prayer by the Wailers, featuring Skip Marley, Farruko, Shaggy, and Cedella Marley. 

Wednesday 20 January

Our White House: An Inaugural Celebration for Young Americans 10.00-12.30am ET (3-5.30pm GMT)

This broadcast will mark the first-ever curated livestream for young Americans before and during the Inaugural Ceremonies.

Keke Palmer will host the stream which will include a special message from Dr Jill Biden, historical commentary, a segment on presidential pets produced by Nickelodeon, and a number of other special features.

Inaugural Ceremony - timing not yet disclosed

President-elect Mr Biden and Vice President-elect Ms Harris will be expected to take the oath of office at 12pm ET (5pm GMT) at the US Capitol in Washington DC.

Mr Biden will then deliver an inaugural address to set out his vision for his term as president.

Lady Gaga is scheduled to sing the national anthem and Jennifer Lopez will provide a musical performance.  

Pass in Review - timing not yet disclosed

The Pass in Review will take place on the East front with members of the military.

The proceedings are a long-standing military tradition that reflect the peaceful transfer of power to a new president.

Arlington National Cemetery Wreath Laying Ceremony - timing not yet disclosed

Mr Biden and Ms Harris will lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, honouring members of the military who have given their lives in the name of service.

Former Presidents Obama, Bush and Clinton will join the newly inaugurated president and vice president for the ceremony.

Virtual Parade Across America - 3.15pm ET (8.15pm GMT)

Mr Biden will receive a Presidential Escort to the White House in a historical journey to the White House without attracting large crowds and gatherings.

The Bidens will be welcomed to the White House by chief usher Timothy Harleth with Donald Trump and Melania Trump eschewing the tradition of meeting the incoming first family.

Following the escort, the PIC has announced a virtual parade across America that will be televised.

The University of Delaware Drumline and the Howard University Drumline will help escort Mr Biden and Ms Harris to the White House and start the parade with a live performance.

Tony Goldwyn will host the virtual parade, which will see performances and appearances from Jon Stewart, New Radicals, Andra Day,  Kaitlyn Saunders, Nathan Chen, Allyson Felix, Katie Ledecky, and Nathan Apodaca alongside heroes in communities across the country.

An art exhibition at the National Mall will also include approximately 191,500 US flags of varying sizes, including flags representing every state and territory, and 56 pillars of light to celebrate all those who cannot attend.

Celebrating America television special - 8.30pm ET (1.30am GMT)

A 90-minute prime-time program special titled “Celebrating America” will be hosted by Tom Hanks from 8.30pm to 10.30pm on the evening following the inauguration.

The program will feature remarks from Mr Biden and Ms Harris, performances, and footage of American heroes working to fight crises across the country.

Eva Longoria, Kerry Washington, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Chef José Andrés, labor leader Dolores Huerta, and MLB general manager Kim Ng will introduce segments throughout the night ranging from stories of young people making a difference in their communities to musical performances.

Foo Fighters, John Legend, and Bruce Springsteen, Demi Lovato, Justin Timberlake, Ant Clemons, and Jon Bon Jovi and Lin-Manuel Miranda are scheduled to perform.

Where can I watch everything?

Programming of events will be broadcast on ABC, CBS, CNN, NBC, and MSNBC and also streamed live on PIC social media channels: YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and Twitch.

Most of the programming for the 59th Presidential Inauguration can also be watched at 

 Additional Spanish-language programming will also provide coverage of the virtual events to provide an opportunity for Spanish-speaking Americans to join the inauguration.

Find out more about where to watch all the Inauguration Day celebrations here.

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