LONDON: A chain of live music shows is slated for Saturday across the globe to canvass for the poor and to put pressure on the rich to dole out more funds. Over 100 renowned rock and roll stars and musicians will be seen in action in what is described as the greatest music show ever organized, telling the world leaders they must care for the poor.
Dubbed Live 8, it is an extension of the Live Aid show in 1985 and will be staged simultaneously in 10 cities in four continents. London is expected to be the key centre, where 10 grand concerts are planned with Paul McCartney and Bono of U2 rendering “Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” at the inaugural.
Live8’s organizer Bob Geldof says he is more concerned about people power than money. The concerts are intended to force the leaders of the eight industrialised countries — the G8 — to commit more of their resources to tackle poverty, mainly in Africa. The show is to precede the G8 leaders’ meeting in Gleneagles in Scotland next week.
A Live8 website notification said, “Ten concerts, 100 artists, a million spectators, two billion viewers, and one message … to get those eight men, in that one room, to stop 30,000 children dying every single day of extreme poverty.”
In 1985, Live Aid, organised by Geldof again, had a captive audience of 1.5 billion television viewers. It had generated spontaneous donations worth $100 million in aid for the Ethiopian famine victims. This time around, the organizers feel the reach will be more with Internet and mobile phones.
Geldof says in specific terms, he would want the aid to poor nations to be doubled, debts of these nations to be waived and international trade rules to be made fairer.
Live8, estimated to cost around 25 million pounds, has been well accepted by aid groups. Its run-up has been proved to be effective to a certain extent. There has been a recent waiver by the United States and Britain of $40 billion in debt and the U.S. government has pledged to double aid to Africa and Latin America.
Live8’s motto is “We Don’t Want Your Money — We Want You”. The shows are free.
In London, some 200,000 people are expected to converge at Hyde Park to hear besides McCartney and Bono, a host of singers like Elton John, Madonna and Pink Floyd.
Apart from London, the shows will be staged in Paris, Rome, Berlin, Moscow, Johannesburg, Tokyo, Philadelphia and Toronto, all cities in G8 countries. In addition, there will be an all-African concert at the Eden Project in southwest England and one in Johannesburg.
While the event will be telecast live by MTV and VH1 from each concert site, ABC is airing a two-hour capsule on the highlights. America Online’s www.aolmusic.com will present live feeds of the concerts from Berlin, London, Rome, Toronto, Philadelphia and Paris.
The organisers claim more than 85 per cent of the world’s population will have access to the show either through television, radio or Internet.
The show’s organizers plan to reach Scotland with protesters in the coming week.
Geldof has written an open letter to the leaders of the G8 countries, saying they are the real “stars of the show”. A failure to achieve “a historic breakthrough” at Gleneagles summit would betray the world’s poorest people, he said.