31/05/2005

Geldof announces five 'Live 8' shows

Bob Geldof has unveiled plans for five simultaneous concerts to be held as a sequel to the legendary Live Aid concerts held 20 years ago.

The concerts, which will take place in London’s Hyde Park and at other venues in Paris, Philadelphia, Berlin and Rome on July 2, will highlight the work of the ‘Make Poverty History’ campaign, which aims to get the debt of developing countries cancelled.

The Live 8 concerts will take place just days before the G8 summit takes place at Gleneagles in Scotland from July 6 – 8.

A number of major artists have signed up to play at the event, including U2, Madonna, Coldplay, the Rolling Stones, Oasis, Robbie Williams, Sting and Duran Duran. However, although there has been speculation that the Spice Girls would reform for the event, it has not been confirmed. Some reports have indicated that the band, who shot to fame in the mid-Nineties, will not be participating in the event. However, a spokesperson for Victoria Beckham was reported to have said that the band were still in talks with Live 8 organisers.

Commenting on the event last week, Bob Geldof, who organised the Live Aid events in 1985, said: “What started 20 years ago is coming to a political point in a few weeks. There is more than a chance that the boys and girls with guitars finally get to tilt the world on its axis.”

The Live 8 concerts are expected to be an even bigger success than the original Live Aid concerts. The original Live Aid event took place on July 13, 1985, and involved two simultaneous concerts in Wembley stadium in London and JFK stadium in Philadelphia. The event raised £40 million for famine relief in Africa.

The British government is supporting the event. Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell said she believed the Hyde Park concert would be “the biggest and best open-air concert the capital has ever seen”. She said: “The government is 100% behind Live 8. The G8 Summit in Edinburgh, which follows the concert, offers an opportunity for the world’s developed nations to really make a difference – to do something positive for the Third World. Live 8 will set the scene and we are proud to be able to make it happen.”

It was also announced today that the Treasury had refunded over £2 million in VAT to the Band Aid Trust for purchases of the Christmas Band Aid 20 record and DVD of the Live Aid concert.

(KMcA/SP)

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