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Deemed the Woodstock of the 1980’s as well as one of the most ambitious concerts ever staged, Live Aid exploded on to approximately 2 millions viewers’ television sets in 60 countries on July 13, 1985. In recognizing the 25th anniversary of what was known as the “global jukebox,” one has to wonder about the relevance such uncomplicated yet poignant universal charity endeavors have today. In an world where terrorism, gang violence, global warming, and AIDS (yes, still) are taking lives and wreaking havoc every day, and The Powers That Be seem to be making progress slowly and not-too-steadily, is it possible that such insistent, emotive events might be the way to progress? Some of music’s most influential characters, both then and now, have been those that work off of a somewhat “anti-establishment” platform– maybe not just preaching from the podium is a viable idea that should be taken to heart. We need to focus on conversations.

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The seeds were originally planted by Bob Geldof to raise money for the famine in Ethiopia. Splitting the show into two major venues (Wembley Stadium in London and JFK Stadium in Philadelphia), the 50+ performers created around 16 hours of music, mixed with footage from the crisis in Ethiopia, and raised well over $200 million for the cause via donations and pledges.

 

 

Swept up in the spirit of togetherness and generosity, millions of people became philanthropists (even if only for a few hours). Live Aid mobilized a generation, and made giving hip. It was not progress through alleged “new findings,” proposed bills, or money raised for “research” that victims will probably never see the results of. In those few hours, a remarkable amount of awareness was raised, and tangible progress was made. We should work to bring what Live Aid accomplished into the present. 

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Bono

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Elton John

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Tina Turner and Mick Jagger

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Bob Geldof speaks at a press conference at the Hard Rock Cafe in New York City

 

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