After 20 years, Live Aid is returning to Philadelphia. In 1985, the massive, trans-Atlantic concert series brought together dozens of the era's most popular artists and raised hundreds of millions of dollars for the poor in Africa. Its only U.S. location was the old JFK Stadium in Philadelphia. This time around, the concert series is called Live 8, and once again Philadelphia will be the lone American host city. The concert will be held -- with no charge for admission -- on the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Crowds of up to 2 million are expected to fill the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Bob Geldof, the musician who also organized the original Live Aid, planned the concerts -- which will also be taking place in London, Berlin, Rome and Paris -- to coincide with the G-8 summit in Scotland, which begins July 6. The G-8 is a conference of the leaders of the world's eight wealthiest and most powerful countries -- the United States, Russia, France, Japan, Germany, Great Britain, Canada and Italy. Geldof hopes the event will force the summit leaders to consider the plight of the poor in Africa. "Charity will never really solve the problems," said Geldof, who does not plan to use the concerts to raise money. "It is time for justice -- and 20 years after Live Aid, people now demand it of these eight men." Poverty in Africa is already slated to be a focus of this year's G-8 summit, and the organizers of Live 8 hope that the concerts will keep the crisis in the spotlight. Dave Matthews, who was in Philadelphia to officially announce the concert, told CNN that "when people are ... given the opportunity to do something, to be powerful in the face of the world's future, they take that opportunity. And I think [Live 8] is another chance that we have to bring together the power of people to move our leaders." Among the items on the agenda for the Live 8 organizers is the importance of debt relief for impoverished African nations. U2 frontman Bono, who will be on stage at London's Hyde Park for the benefit concert, spoke about debt relief at Penn's Commencement last May. "Every era has its defining struggle," he said, "and the fate of Africa is one of ours." Bono co-founded Debt AIDS Trade Africa, a nonprofit organization that aims to increase awareness of the problems facing Africa. He is also a partner in the ONE Campaign, an effort by Americans to urge their leaders to take action against global poverty. Both DATA and the ONE Campaign are partners in Live 8. Geldof had been hesitant in the past to organize another Live Aid, believing the success of the first one could not be duplicated. He changed his mind, though, as the 20th anniversary of the original concerts neared, and he saw in the G-8 summit a chance to make a difference. "What started 20 years ago is coming to a political point in a few weeks," Geldof said. "There's more than a chance that the boys and girls with guitars will finally get to turn the world on its axis." Confirmed artists for the Philadelphia show are Bon Jovi, Maroon 5, P. Diddy, Stevie Wonder, Jay-Z, the Dave Matthews Band, Sarah McLachlan, Rob Thomas of Matchbox 20, Keith Urban, 50 Cent and the Kaiser Chiefs. The acts at Hyde Park include Mariah Carey, Coldplay, Dido, Keane, Elton John, Madonna, Paul McCartney, Sting, U2, REM, the Killers and the Cure. Paris' lineup includes Jamiroquai and Andrea Bocelli, while Berlin will host A-ha, Brian Wilson, Lauryn Hill and Crosby, Stills and Nash. The Rome concert will feature Duran Duran, Faith Hill and Tim McGraw.Comments powered by Disqus
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