Live 8 concerts around the world to "End Poverty Now"

Saturday, July 2, 2005

The Live 8 Concert in Rome, Italy

Massive music concerts took place around the planet under the Live 8 banner in an effort to put pressure on the leaders of the eight richest countries in the world to end global poverty.

All concerts were timed to take place between noon and 10pm local time, with over a million people expected to attend concerts in Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the US, Canada, South Africa and Russia. The events were broadcast to a potential audience of five and a half billion people world-wide.

The largest concert was in the US in Philadelphia where, over the course of 7 hours, hundreds of thousands of people gathered to watch Stevie Wonder, Kanye West, Destiny's Child, Dave Matthews Band, and Black Eyed Peas among others. Philadelphia native Will Smith both performed and was the opening presenter. Peak attendance, the maximum amount of people believed to be watching Live 8 on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway at a given time, is estimated to have been between 600,000 and 800,000.

In Hyde Park in London, 205,000 people watched acts including Elton John, Madonna, Coldplay, Robbie Williams and Pink Floyd. The concert was opened by Sir Paul McCartney and U2 playing Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band - the first time the song has ever been performed live by a Beatle. It ended at 11.58pm with all of the acts coming on stage to sing one last time.

Bill Gates - founder of Microsoft and the richest man in the world (owning $46.5 billion) - appeared on the London stage to discuss the challenges facing the world, before introducing Dido. Later, Kofi Annan, the Secretary-General of the UN addressed the audience, thanking them for their support.

However, the first concert to open - in Japan - only drew 10,000 spectators, disappointing many.

The concerts follow on 20 years after the Live Aid concert organised by Bob Geldof, which was created to raise money for famine victims in Ethopia.

By contrast, the aim of Live 8 - also organised by Geldof - is not fund-raising but instead to apply pressure to the leaders of the G8 to end world poverty, which claims the lives of 50,000 every day.

The Live 8 organisers are urging the G8 to:

  1. Double the aid sent to the world's poorest countries,
  2. Fully cancel their debts,
  3. Change the trade laws so that they can build their own future.

The Finance Ministers of the G8 agreed a plan last month to cancel the debt of 18 of the poorest countries to the IMF, the World Bank and the African Development Fund, but are requiring other countries to end political and financial corruption before they become elegible for debt relief.

On Thursday the President of the United States, George W. Bush, announced that the US will double US aid to Africa by 2010 - increasing to $8.6 billion a year. Bob Geldof welcomed the news, saying "This is the first time we have heard this sort of language.

"This is very, very positive indeed."


London, United Kingdom

Crowd: 205,000

Berlin, Germany

Crowds at Tiergarten, Berlin

Crowd: 100,000

Philadelphia, United States

Crowd: 800,000 - 1,000,000

Paris, France

Crowd: 200,000

Rome, Italy

With temperatures in the 30s, fans went through a lot of water at the Live 8 concert in Rome

Crowd: 100,000

Several Italian bands really got the crowd going, but foreign bands such as Tim McGraw and Faith Hill were poorly received by the crowd.

Moscow, Russia

Crowd: 200,000

Barrie, Canada

Crowd: 35,000

Johannesburg, South Africa

Crowd: 40,000

Tokyo, Japan

Crowd: 10,000

In Cornwall

Crowd: 5,000

This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.
This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.

This was all Afrcan musicians plus Dido, guesting with Senegalese superstar Youssou N'Dour.

The Eden centre turned out to be an excellent site for TV or rather a web stream.

WOMAD was involved so there may be a record.

There was a weblink to South Africa and a live message from Nelson Mandela.

Archived video