"This is not Live Aid 2."
"These concerts are the start point for The Long Walk To Justice,
the one way we can all make our voices heard in unison.
This is without doubt a moment in history where ordinary people can grasp the chance
to achieve something truly monumental and demand from the 8 world leaders at G8 an end to poverty.
The G8 leaders have it within their power to alter history. They will only have the will to do so
if tens of thousands of people show them that enough is enough.
By doubling aid, fully cancelling debt, and delivering trade justice for Africa,
the G8 could change the future for millions of men, women and children."
Bob Geldof - 2005
Part of the Make Poverty History campaign, Live 8 is set to be the beginning of the "Long Walk to Justice". Calling on the leaders of the world's richest countries to do their bit, this campaign aims to end poverty in the the third world. Live 8 is to be held on July 2nd and conincides with the 2005 G8 summit - to be held at the GlenEagles Hotel, Edinburgh between 6th and 9th July. The concentration of activity has been on the concert in London (Hyde Park) but plans have been made for sister concerts in Paris (Eiffel Tower), Berlin (Brandenburg Gate), Rome (Circus Maximus) and Philadelphia (Museum of Art). The concerts will begin the call for complete debt cancellation, more and better aid and trade justice for the world’s poorest people.
Boosted by the (albeit limited) success of Band Aid 20 and concerned that the G8 leaders should have their attention brought to the belief of many that third world poverty should be brought to an end, Bob Geldof announced that he was rebuilding his Live Aid idea as Live 8 on 31st May, 2005. This time it's not to raise money for charity but to bring about what many believe to be justice for the third world.
The British Government have fully supported the Live 8 concerts, with Tessa Jowell (Culture Secretary) saying that the concert will "set the scene" for the summit and Gordon Brown relieving the burdens of VAT and the clean-up costs. Mr Brown also said, "It just shows the power of people to change things and I think young people particularly should know that by coming together you can change the world."
The Live 8 concerts will be free, concentrating not on raising money but instead on raising the issues and making the G8 leaders aware that the world is watching and waiting. In the UK, a text message lottery will be held for the Hyde Park concert between 6th June and 12th June with an expected 1.5 million entrants applying for 72,500 pairs of tickets. The entrance fee (a princely £1.50) will go towards a £1.6million donation to The Prince's Trust - the charity have cancelled their annual Party in the Park to make room for Live 8 and the they are sharing a proportion of the donation with Help a London Child. The rest of the money will contibute to the costs of of the event and any surplus will then go the the Band Aid Trust.
After the concerts, Geldof wants a million people to travel to Edinburgh in time for protest on 6th July, as part of the Long Walk to Justice. This part of his plans will involve a party and demonstration in Edinburgh and the Sail 8 campaign (which intends to recreate a Dunkerque-esque recovery of Britain's "French cousins", so they can join in the demonstrations), which is heavily endorsed by Ellen MacArthur.
Until now, Geldof has refused to relive the 1985 concert, saying that, "I couldn't see how anything could possibly be better than that glorious day 20 years ago." 2005, however, presents a unique opportunity; The British Government have stated that the issues in the third world are among their top priorities on a global level. This, along with Tony Blair being President of the European Union and host to the G8 summit, present the best circumstances for a push for change.
"What Live Aid did, joyously and enthusiastically, was open up the avenues of possibility. Finally Live 8 invites you to walk down them."
Bob Geldof - 2005
Live 8 did not escape criticism. In particular, the original lineup was slated for not being diverse enough. Campaign group Black Information Link branded the London concert's line-up "hideously white" for having only one ethnic minority artist - Mariah Carey - among its 22 performers at that stage and Damon Alban famously asked "More than ever, black culture is an integral part of society. So why is the bill so damn Anglo-Saxon?" With the additions of a further 5 venues during the buildup to the actual day and more acts to the bill, these criticisms died down, although, in some ways, this was seen as an act to quieten the masses.
Clare Short questioned the concerts saying, "People will enjoy the concerts because there are famous bands but quite how the concerts are going to eliminate poverty in the world is not clear... it's like Bob Geldof and Tony Blair are going to save Africa at one meeting." Lord Steel said Geldof was in danger of turning his anti-poverty campaign into an ego trip. He said some of Geldof's "populist antics" risked destroying his well-deserved reputation for raising awareness of Africa's plight.
As related in SharQ's writeup below, Ebay's famous decision to ban the sales of Live 8 tickets on its auction site has also drawn much attention, good and bad. There were over 2 million entries into the SMS draw in the UK, and an extra 55,000 tickets were released a few days before the concert.
The concerts themselves were a huge success. People danced in the sunshine, they chanted and they cheered each celebrity who appeared on stage to tell us that a child dies every 3 seconds from preventable causes. This was the biggest entertainment event in the world's history, with some 85% of the world's population able to access the concerts through the media.
Let us be the ones who say we are not satisfied that your place of birth determines your right to life.
Let us be outraged, let us be loud, let us be bold.
Brad Pitt at Hyde Park
Did the concerts work?
The main aim of Live 8 was to raise awareness of the poverty suffered in Africa and the campaign to make that poverty history. Even Geldof himself said he expected Live 8 protests to be "a glorious failure" because world leaders would "probably not" agree to all his demands on African poverty. The true test of success will be if society at large remembers the true meaning behind Live 8 and if poverty really does become a thing of the past; that will only become apparent in the weeks, months and years ahead.
Full List of Artists
UK – Hyde Park, London
France – Palais de Versailles, Paris
Germany – Siegessäule, Berlin
Italy – Circus Maximus, Rome
USA –Museum of Art, Philadelphia
Canada –Park Place, Barrie
Japan –Makuhari Messe, Tokyo
South Africa –Mary Fitzgerald Square, Newtown, Johannesburg
The Russian Federation - Red Square, Moscow
UK – Eden Project, Cornwall
(in association with WOMAD)
Edinburgh - Edinburgh 50,000 - The Final Push
(happening on the 6th July 2005 - the eve of the G8 summit)
plus other acts and speakers
I intend to update this node as news comes in and the events come and pass so that eventually it will be a Node for the Ages. Watch this space!