“It’s twelve noon in London, seven AM in Philadelphia, and around the world it’s time for Live Aid.”
1985 saw the most monumental charity event in world history, with 172,000 people filling the stadiums of both Wembley and Philadelphia. The unforgettable concert also held the attention of almost two billion people across 150 countries all over the world.
Queen’s legendary guitarist (and part time astrophysicist) Brian May has proposed a second Live Aid to tackle the effects of climate change, but would this work? Debatable.
Bob Geldof and Midge Ure, who organised the event, set out to raise money for the Ethiopian famine and were very successful. News reports in the days after the gig declared that somewhere between £40 to £50 million was raised, however it is now estimated that around £150 million was donated due to the attention given to the crisis.
So, I think it’s fair to say that it was effective …or it could of just had something to do with Geldof shouting “give us your fucking money” but who knows? (same outburst triggered donations to come in at £300 a second (Krüger, 2015:190))
So, the first Live Aid was successful but will another one be as significant?
Similar concerts to Live Aid have been held in order to raise money for our home – for example, the ’Live Earth’ bash that took place in 2007. This was not as successful as the original Live Aid, possibly due to the performing acts that included Cameron Diaz (Fiona from Shrek).
Brian May told the Daily Mirror “It probably would take the younger generation to take that bull by the horns.” – meaning, if there were to be another concert on the same scale as 1985, it would effectively have to be us responsible for organising it.
“Young people are key actors in raising awareness, running educational programmes, promoting sustainable lifestyles, conserving nature, supporting renewable energy, adopting environmentally-friendly practices and implementing adaptation and mitigation projects.” (UNFCCC)
It is obvious that today’s youth have wildly varying music tastes, some would prefer members of the original line up: Paul McCartney, David Bowie, Led Zeppelin, Elton John and Queen. However, others would rather introduce new artists who didn’t get a chance to perform in the original production (either because they were too young, or thought the entire concert would be a flop), I would name people but I (fortunately) fit into the first category so I can’t.
This contrast of interests would definitely affect sales and donations although it is comforting to think that maybe people would donate ‘just because’.
It is inarguably clear that our generation today care about the Earths future but few of us take action ourselves. It personally pains me to see single use plastics littered on school grounds and not only are students doing it, but government officials aren’t doing anything about it. Not to mention, Schools do not put the easily obtainable resources in place to prevent this from happening *cough* Recycling bins *cough*.
Horrifically (but slightly unsurprisingly), the money raised through Live Aid didn’t all go toward the crisis in Ethiopia but instead, to the corrupt communist government who used the funding to buy arms from the Soviet Union. Now, I’m not going to go as far as to say that global powers would use money raised to do something similar but my pessimistic ass would bet on that lack of action – even if the funding is there (See: Notre Dame fire)
So, to conclude, would another concert like 1985 help mother nature? Maybe, but the publicity would need to stretch far and wide – and it goes without saying that musical diversity in the lineup would be key.
Hang on (please)! There’s more you can do in the meantime: Reduce your use of single use plastics, buy a refillable bottle, tap water will not hurt you, metal straws, reusable coffee cups, bamboo toothbrushes, not buying produce in plastic packaging – one less thing killing the turtles.
A group of North West London students can’t organise another live aid but we can do our bit to elongate our time on Earth.
Thank you for reading 🙂 – Sara Griffiths