Global Citizen: is a worldwide concert

Saturday: Global Citizen Live: A Worldwide Concert; (BBC One, 5.30pm & 9.20pm; BBC Two, 10.10pm)

Friday, 24th September 2021, 5:00 pm

At 12 noon on Saturday July 13, 1985, the Live Aid concert kicked off.

It was the culmination of heroic behind-the-scenes work by Irish rock star Bob Geldof, promoter Harvey Goldsmith and TV producer Tony Verna, and pushed the technology of the age to its absolute limits, with concerts on both sides of the Atlantic.

Live Aid had two aims: to raise awareness of starvation in Ethiopia and raise as much money as possible to fund solutions.

Spool forward 36 years and the technology may be a whole lot better but some of the same issues still remain.

Global Citizen Live takes Live Aid and runs with it, expanding it to a 24-hour event, with concerts taking place on six continents.

In Los Angeles, Stevie Wonder, Adam Lambert, Chloe x Halle, Demi Lovato, H.E.R., ONEREPUBLIC, Ozuna, The Lumineers, and 5 Seconds of Summer will be taking to the stage, while in New York, Coldplay, Billie Eilish, Camila Cabello, Jennifer Lopez, Lizzo, Meek Mill and Shawn Mendes will perform, with special guest performances by Alessia Cara, Burna Boy, Cyndi Lauper, Jon Batiste and Lang Lang.

Over in Paris, Ed Sheeran, Elton John, Doja Cat, DJ Snake, Black Eyed Peas, Stormzy, and Christine and the Queens will be taking to the stage, and in London, fans will see Kylie Minogue, Maneskin, Nile Rodgers and Chic, Rag’N’Bone Man, and headliners Duran Duran kicking up their heels.

The BBC, which is spreading its coverage across its two major channels, isn’t the only outlet airing the shows: iHeartRadio, Hulu, YouTube and Twitter will also be broadcasting.

As you might expect, it’s not just about the music.

Global Citizen Live also features historic artists and leaders from around the world who want to defend the planet and overcome poverty. The entire event is part of Global Citizens’ Recovery Plan for the World, which focuses on Covid-19, ending the hunger crisis, resuming learning for all, protecting the planet and advancing equity for everyone.

They’re ambitious aims but the statistics are alarming: more than 700 million people worldwide live in extreme poverty, while only a handful of countries still have access to adequate Covid medical supplies.

Add into the mix the clear and present danger presented by climate change, and suddenly the epic effort needed to make these live shows happen becomes miniscule while the scale of the problems the concerts are trying to highlight becomes clear.

“Covid-19 has drastically reversed the progress toward achieving the United Nations’ Global Goals, pushing upwards of 160 million people back into extreme poverty,” said Hugh Evans, CEO of Global Citizen.

He added there were now over 40 million people on the brink of famine, while progress on climate change has slowed because the majority of the Fortune 500 fail to set science-based carbon reduction targets.

We’ll leave the final word to Nigeria’s Foreign Minister, Geoffrey Onyeama, who said: “As we humans spend billions of dollars in search of newer worlds in outer space, Global Citizen Live brings us back down to earth by reminding the global community that charity should begin at home and we must preserve our Earth and be our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers.

“Space can wait!”

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