How Live Aid changed fundraising forever (2023)


The 1985 All-Star benefit concert started the trend of high-profile celebrity-endorsed charities and, in the process, changed the nature of fundraising.

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How Live Aid changed fundraising forever (1)
(Video) The Story Of Queen At Live Aid - Why Was It So Perfect?

On July 13, 1985, Africa became a brand. An image of a starving Ethiopian girl named Birhan Woldu flashed across television screens as Paul McCartney, David Bowie and Madonna performed on stages in London and Philadelphia under the banner Feed the World. Live Aid, as the event was called, was attended by nearly 175,000 people at both venues and initially raised $80 million in relief funds for victims of a terrible famine. But the 16-hour transcontinental broadcast was more than a blessing: it was a marketing exercise, distilling the complex history of the African continent into a logo seen by more than a billion viewers, roughly a quarter of the world's population at the time. 🇧🇷

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If that day became the symbolism of Africa for the worldan empty silhouette soldered to the fingerboard of a guitar, so the continent also became a star. Never before has this been so high in the global media spotlight, nor have music fans been so strongly urged to help others. The show raised questions about the effectiveness of celebrities advocating for foreign aid, but it also changed the nature of fundraising, introducing the factor of high visibility thanks to prominent philanthropists. Now, 30 years later, as celebrities continue to take advantage of social media to promote charities, Live Aid's legacy continues to be felt in raising funds and building movements for good causes.

* * *

One of the major charity events debuting in the US this year was Red Nose Day, a fundraising comedy marathon benefiting efforts to end global poverty. Before the TV special premiered in May, Walgreens had sold more than $7 million worth of recyclable noses alone. However, that's a drop in the bucket compared to that.£1+ billionThe tomato-shaped noses have been brought in by UK telethons for the past 30 years for the charity Comic Relief, launching the same year as Live Aid. Those red noses are a reminder of how ubiquitous the act of charity has become in Africa since 1985: today inConsumer review site Charity Navigator, nine of the ten most followed charities provide direct funding for programs on the African continent.

Without Live Aid there would be no red noses, at least according to filmmaker Richard Curtis (Four marriages and one death,love actually), who co-founded Comic Relief and Red Nose Day in the 1980s inspired by Live Aid organizer Bob Geldof. “I remember seeing [the set] Band Aid and Live Aid and feeling like I should be there, so I ended up in Ethiopia for three weeks,” he says. "It was when the hunger was very bad and I saw horrible things, up close, that completely changed my life. It led to a lifelong commitment to end extreme poverty."

(Video) 【Queen】Live Aid 1985 Full Concert

The term "extreme poverty" did not exist before Live Aid; It was coined in 1995, when the UN defined it as a base measure (equals an income of less than $1.25 per day) used in the research that led to the creation of theMillennium Development Goals in 2000🇧🇷 The origins of the expression are inseparable from the vivid images of the victims of the famine in Ethiopia.shown on BBC television in the autumn of 1984🇧🇷 Images of starving children in one of the world's poorest places prompted Geldof (Boomtown Rats frontman) and Midge Ure (Ultravox) to write the charity single "Do They Know It's Christmas?". and put together a group of stars to record it in November. After following the first aid shipment to Ethiopia financed by the song's sales in the spring of 1985, Geldof returned to London determined to do more, leading to the birth of Live Aid.

A lot has changed in the last 30 years and the record in Ethiopia has been mixed: The show's figurehead, Woldu, has grown into a healthy adult.however, it refuses to be used as a symbol of Western aid.🇧🇷 🇧🇷 🇧🇷 🇧🇷 Ethiopia has becomeone of the fastest growing economies on the continentAlthough the country's regime has rightly been criticized for state control of market sectors and human rights abuses. This month, on the anniversary of Live Aid, the UN is hosting a development conference in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, to discuss new global goals to be launched this fall. The situation in the country has improved, but we still have a lot of work to do.

Aid remains a complicated issue, but progress on the continent is real: theThe information is from the Brookings Institute.that the proportion of Africans living in extreme poverty fell from 60% in 1996 to 47% in 2011and expected to fallto 24% by 2030. Credit for these achievements belongs to African countries themselves, but Live Aid acolytes, including actors, musicians, doctors, aid workers, grassroots religious organizations and ordinary citizens, have also played a supporting role putting pressure on governments. in Investir programs that help address the root causes of poverty and save lives from preventable diseases like AIDS and malaria.

In the years since Live Aid, the band's Aid Trust (which was set up to manage donations from the sale of music and video/DVD licences) has continued to distribute funds to various charities operating across the African continent. Criticism of the Live Aid money trail, including reports of financiers suspected of using funds to buy weapons in the 1980s, have alerted philanthropists, governments and charities working in Africa, decrying the impact of corruption on the fundraising chain. Today, aid organizations like Oxfam have joined the ranksInternational Aid Transparency Initiative, which helps organizations assess transparency and provide data resources to donors.

UNICEF and Amnesty International organized benefit concerts in the 1970s (including George Harrison's Concert for Bangladesh), but Live Aid was the first company to use the power of the media and peer advocacy to unite the world for a cause. After the first event, the show's impact spread to the "Six Degrees of Geldof," a network of celebrities and influencers who went out on their networks to evangelize about Africa and ended up hearing about billionaire philanthropists and world leaders.

If Live Aid had never existed, it would beRichard Branson swam with Desmond Tutuwhen you talk about world peace? would doBed net initiatives funded by Ted Turner, oBill and Melinda Gates used their fortune to provide vaccines and birth control, oJimmy Carter spent his post-presidency eradicating tropical diseases in countries like Nigeria🇧🇷 wouldGeorge W. Bush signed PEPFAR into law(the President's Contingency Plan for the AIDS Response), a massive government initiative to fight AIDS/HIV worldwide? Did David Cameron spend unprecedented amounts of money in Britain?foreign aid budget🇧🇷 It is also easy to question whether African schools, water wells and AIDS awareness campaigns inOprah,Brad Pitt,Matt Damon,William,annie lenox, miAlice's Keysit would exist today if Live Aid had not set the precedent for its celebrity focus on the continent.

Rock stars influencing the politics of world leaders may not have been possible before Live Aid, but an interconnected world where African countries experience massive economic growth could become a reality even without celebrity concerts. "We didn't need Bono or Geldof to mitigate the tragedy in Africa," says William Easterly, an economics professor at New York University. “Without the legacy of Live Aid, the Western perspective would be less patronizing and more focused on Africa. As it is, our condescending attitude perpetuates the idea that we are the source of hope."

If a song had the power to make '80s music fans feel like they could help "feed the world," it wasn't because they saw themselves as colonialists, but more as activists, says Coldplay's Chris Martin. , who is on Live for 8 years. Aid aired on the BBC in the summer of 1985. "I remember it," says Martin. “He made my generation feel that caring for the world was part of his job. Rock and roll doesn't need to be separate from society." After Band Aid and Live Aid turned record purchases and concert tickets into major charitable donations, music became the preferred vehicle for promotion. "Do you know it's Christmas?" inspired other records such as the US African famine relief "We Are the World," Steven Van Zandt's "Sun City" as a protest against South African apartheid, and a Dionne Warwick remake of the Burt Bacharach ballad "That's What They Are For." the friends". for AIDS research.

(Video) U.S.A. For Africa - We Are the World

At Live Aid, ordinary songs became anthems as they took on the meaning of the day. "Hide and seek" by Howard Jones; the 12-minute version of U2's "Bad"; and the gospel tones of Teddy Pendergrass singing "Reach Out and Touch (Somebody's Hand)" added to the impact of the show. "It was like throwing a rock into a lake, and the waves were huge," said co-organizer Ure. “The average man on the street felt a connection to make a difference. Live Aid wasn't [the artists' baby], it belonged to the fans. They built momentum by putting their hands in their pockets, buying the record and going to the shows."

Elizabeth McLaughlin was 23 years old when she attended the concert in London, a few meters from the stage. She remembers the moment the sun dipped below the edge of Wembley Stadium and the crowd cheered in unison to Queen's "Radio Ga Ga." "People were crying a lot," she says. “The combination of the images on the screens and the messages from the artists reminded us why we were there. We knew we had to do more." McLaughlin credits Live Aid with influencing her to abandon her career as a stockbroker and later become a national director.MAINTENANCE🇧🇷 "Whatever came out of Live Aid, millions of pounds and dollars, that's great. But what really happened at the concert is that a new generation was born, a generation that needs to be aware of what's going on around us." ".

Live 8, a sequel to Live Aid, took place before the 2005 G8 Summit and "Do You Know It's Christmas?" West Africa would. Thanks in part to the young One Direction fans who took part in the Band Aid 30 recording in 2014, the song reached No. 1 on the UK Singles Chart, though its message didn't resonate with millennials.

Ironically, Live Aid may have been responsible for the backlash: today's viral videos, online charity ads, and point-of-sale donations are direct descendants of the marketing tactics used in promoting the original Band-Aid record. Aid and Live-Aid programs. dressed. Since 1985, volunteering has been just as important as giving to charity, and millennials happily do both. in aCase Foundation Report 2014, 87% of millennials who took part in a survey on charitable giving and corporate volunteering gave to charity last year, but 97% responded that they would rather use their individual skills to help a good cause.

"Millennials want the work done and they want a piece of the action," says Luvuyo Mandela, 29, a South African activist and great-grandson of Nelson Mandela. Mandela says he feels young Africans don't care who credits progress in reducing poverty or eliminating AIDS, regardless of whether they believe Africa wants or needs unsolicited help from other continents. As Baby Boomers and Gen-Xers, with their armchairs, brochures and telethons, have taken up Live Aid's mantle of "saving the world," Mandela believes his generation "aspires to be the entrepreneurs who achieve lasting change through action." in daily life". After Invisible Children's viral campaign calling for the capture of Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony, millennials may be more skeptical about blindly joining new causes.

Hugh Evans, a 32-year-old Australian, said he believes the benefit concerts will no longer be for the poor they want to help, but "for the lawyers who come." the annualGlobal Citizen Festivalwhich began four years ago, draws 60,000 fans to New York's Central Park every September to hear artists like Stevie Wonder and Foo Fighters and leaders like World Bank President Jim Yong Kim and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. For these concertgoers, who earn their way into the event by signing online petitions or posting charitable content on social media, music is the spokesperson, not the motivator.

The careful planning of this year's festival shows how far it has come in the last 30 years. Unlike the chaotic Live Aid press conference in June 1985, which announced a lineup of artists that Bob Geldof had scribbled on a sheet of paper, Evan's case uses the latest technology. Curtis developed an animated short film for the screen, and no images of poor children are shown. Instead, Beyoncé, the headliner of this year's festival, will make a video appearance. But the ultimate goal, to improve people's lives on a global scale, remains the same.

Evans is too young to know what it was like to watch Live Aid with 70 musicians on a hot Saturday in July three decades ago. But perhaps because of that program, he and other advocates like him grew up believing that every human being, rock star or not, has the ability to effect change, albeit slowly. If future generations live in a world where there is less need to remember why Live Aid took place on July 13, 1985, surely the legacy of the program will be complete.

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How Live Aid changed the world? ›

Live Aid eventually raised $127 million in famine relief for African nations, and the publicity it generated encouraged Western nations to make available enough surplus grain to end the immediate hunger crisis in Africa. Geldof was later knighted by Queen Elizabeth II for his efforts.

Was Live Aid a success? ›

Was Live Aid a success? Despite bruised egos, controversy and several notable no-shows (Prince and Michael Jackson to name but two), the event was a huge success and set the template for subsequent fund-raisers. Geldof's own website estimates that the shows raised £150 million for famine relief.

How much money did Queen raise for Live Aid 1985? ›

This Day in History: 'Live Aid' concert raises $127 million for Famine Relief in Africa.

Where did the money from Live Aid go? ›

On July 13, 1985, for 16 hours a concert was held simultaneously at JFK Stadium Philadelphia and at Wembley Stadium in London. Live Aid raised more than $125 million to fight famine in Ethiopia. In Philadelphia, 100,000 people attended on a hot and sunny day.

Did Band Aid make a difference? ›

The success influenced two organisations of live benefit concerts run by Celebrity Charity. The concerts were USA for Africa and Live Aid and were broadcast in over 160 countries. Band Aid and Live Aid combined raised about $150 million (USD) for the famine relief effort in Ethiopia.

Was Live Aid money spent on weapons? ›

Bob Geldof has denied a new report claiming that millions of pounds were siphoned from the 1985 Live Aid concerts to purchase weapons for Ethiopian rebel groups. "It just didn't happen," Geldof insisted, despite accepting that "some money" may have been "mislaid".

Why did Michael Jackson turn down Live Aid? ›

The reason Michael Jackson was not at the Live Aid concert to sing the song he co-wrote, ''We Are the World,'' was that Mr. Jackson was ''working around the clock in the studio on a project that he's made a major commitment to,'' according to his press agent, Norman Winter.

Why was Queen's Live Aid performance so iconic? ›

Queen's performance at Live Aid was so good because they gave an electrifying performance of some of their greatest hits. The band was on top of their game and they had the crowd eating out of the palm of their hand. Freddie Mercury was in rare form, and he was able to command the stage and the audience like no other.

Why was Live Aid controversial? ›

An investigation by the BBC has found just 5 per cent of the money raised by Live Aid and Band Aid actually made it to the victims of famine in Ethiopia. Instead, the millions of dollars of international aid intended to buy food for starving Ethiopians was used by rebel groups to buy weapons.

Did Queen make a difference at Live Aid? ›

Queen provided magic on that summer day in 1985. Their impact was summed up by Geldof. “Queen were absolutely the best band of the day,” the Live Aid organizer said. “They played the best, had the best sound, used their time to the full.

Why didn t the Rolling Stones play at Live Aid? ›

So Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood were with Bob Dylan, and Mick Jagger played a set just before – so why didn't The Rolling Stones play together? Word was that Mick and Keith were in the middle of one of their regular bustups so they played separately instead.

Who was best at Live Aid? ›

Live Aid: 10 Must-Watch Performances
  • Mick Jagger and Tina Turner. Rhino. ...
  • U2. Rhino. ...
  • David Bowie. Rhino. ...
  • The Cars. Rhino. ...
  • Dire Straits. Rhino. ...
  • Judas Priest. Rhino. ...
  • Madonna. Rhino. ...
  • Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. Rhino.
Jul 12, 2022

What happened to all the Band Aid money? ›

The Vienna star added: "100 per cent of the royalties goes directly to the Band Aid Trust and I'm sure Bob will have more to say on that subject."

Who gets the royalties from Band Aid? ›

Both men wrote the song. Midge Ure said: "In 35 years, we have never received a penny from Band Aid or Live Aid." He added: "100% of the royalties goes directly to the Band Aid Trust." 100 per cent will go to those people."

Who turned down playing Live Aid? ›

Although several bands reunited for the event, one band that was asked to but didn't was The Beatles. The surviving members of the band were asked to perform with Julian Lennon filling in for his late father John Lennon, but they declined.

How did band aid help many people around the world? ›

BAND-AID® Brand adhesive bandages supported the war effort

During World War II, millions of BAND-AID® Brand adhesive bandages were shipped overseas to the front lines, including packaged in soldiers' first aid kits.

Why is the band aid so important? ›

History. The Band-Aid was invented in 1920 by a Johnson & Johnson employee, Earle Dickson, in Highland Park, New Jersey, for his wife Josephine, who frequently cut and burned herself while cooking. The prototype allowed her to dress her wounds without assistance.

How did people donate to Live Aid? ›

Throughout the concerts, viewers were urged to donate money to the Live Aid cause. Three hundred phone lines were manned by the BBC, so that members of the public could make donations using their credit cards. The phone number and an address that viewers could send cheques to were repeated every twenty minutes.

Who is the biggest aid donor? ›

In 2022, the United States government donated over 12 billion U.S. dollars in humanitarian aid worldwide. Germany followed with over three billion U.S. dollars, while the European Commission donated around two billion U.S. dollars.

How much money did Band Aid raise in 1984? ›

Released on 3rd December of the same year, the song entered the UK singles chart at number one, staying there for five weeks. Within a year, it had raised £8 million, which was way over the target of £70,000 that Geldof had set.

What is aid money used for? ›

Humanitarian aid is aid given to help poorer countries and their citizens to cope with disasters or conflict. This can include natural disasters (floods, earthquakes, droughts and so on) and their consequences (such as famine, property damage, displacement), or to help groups affected by conflict and war.

Who refused to do band aid? ›

George Michael has revealed since that one individual wasn't able to put aside his personal vendettas for charity. "The only person who didn't succumb to the charitable nature of the day was Paul Weller, who decided to have a go at me in front of everybody.

Why didn't George Harrison play Live Aid? ›

Two of the three surviving Beatles, George Harrison and Ringo Starr, didn't show, according to the unofficial Live Aid Web site, apparently fearful of being forced into a Beatles "reunion" with Julian Lennon taking the fourth spot.

Who was the biggest performer at Live Aid? ›

It's been more than 33 years since Queen, spearheaded by their electric front man Freddie Mercury, charged onto the stage of the 1985 Live Aid concert and performed the set often lauded as the greatest live gig of all time.

Did Queen make any music after Live Aid? ›

One Vision. Queen's set opened with their 1985 single One Vision, which was written and released in the aftermath of the band's performance at Live Aid.

Did Princess Diana attend Live Aid concert? ›

live_aid1985 Princess Diana, left, and Prince Charles attend the Live Aid concert as they acknowledge the crowd with event organizer...

Was Freddie Mercury poorly at Live Aid? ›

Freddie's friend and PA Peter Freestone disputes that the star even knew he was ill at the time of Live Aid. Peter exclusively told Express Online: “Freddie thought he was sick in 1986 and it was confirmed in 1987.” That was two years after Live Aid.

What did other bands think of Queen at Live Aid? ›

Queen never sounded better and many critics said they stole the show, even though U2 put up a very good fight. Buoyed by the goodwill, Queen booked a stadium tour for 1986. It was another triumph, but sadly, it was to be their final outing with Mercury.

How much did Live Aid tickets cost? ›

An incredible 100,000 people packed into Philadelphia's JFK Stadium for Live Aid and 72,000 attended the Wembley concert. Tickets for this once in a lifetime event cost $35.00. Live Aid was conceived by Bob Geldof on May 1, 1985, and it was planned and executed in just 10 weeks.

Was Live Aid the biggest concert ever? ›

The largest rock n roll concert audience was at the Live Aid concert in 1985. This concert was organized to raise money for the Ethiopian famine relief.

Why was Live Aid so important for Queen? ›

Queen's performance at Live Aid was so good because they gave an electrifying performance of some of their greatest hits. The band was on top of their game and they had the crowd eating out of the palm of their hand. Freddie Mercury was in rare form, and he was able to command the stage and the audience like no other.

Did Ethiopia get the money from Live Aid? ›

An investigation by the BBC has found just 5 per cent of the money raised by Live Aid and Band Aid actually made it to the victims of famine in Ethiopia. Instead, the millions of dollars of international aid intended to buy food for starving Ethiopians was used by rebel groups to buy weapons.

How much money did Queen make at Live Aid? ›

In the case of Queen Elizabeth the answer is zero. She had nothing to do with Live Aid. In the case of the band Queen it is impossible to say. There were lots of bands there that day and no way of saying that an individual band earned anything - it was a joint effort.

Is it true that Queen almost didn't play Live Aid? ›

The remarkable hidden story about Freddie Mercury's Live Aid performance. Queen's career is defined by their performance at Wembley Stadium during the now iconic Live Aid event — but it nearly didn't take place at all.

Where do the royalties from Band Aid go? ›

singer George Michael had appeared on the Band Aid single and he and fellow band member Andrew Ridgeley donated all the royalties from their single to the Band Aid Trust.

Who stole the show at Live Aid? ›

It was on this day in 1985 when Queen cemented their legacy with a career-defining (and show-stealing) performance at Live Aid.

Who turned down Live Aid? ›

Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson. These four outlaw country music icons had joined forces in 1984 to form the supergroup The Highwaymen. Their debut album came out just a few months before Live Aid, and none of the quartet appeared at either show..

What was bigger Live Aid or Woodstock? ›

Woodstock was larger as a physical event, of course — an on-site audience of 400,000 compared with the 90,000 at Live Aid's Philadelphia stage and the 60,000 in London — but whereas Woodstock was a gleeful veneration of the counterculture, Live Aid sought to occupy the mainstream psyche with a traditionally uncool ...

Was Queen a big hit at Live Aid? ›

Queen at Live Aid is widely acknowledged as one of the greatest – if not the greatest – rock concerts of all time.

Who played the longest at Live Aid? ›

At 32 minutes Elton John had the longest set on the day; his setlist included the first performance of "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me" with George Michael.

What Elton John said about Queen at Live Aid? ›

Paul Gambaccini, who was part of the BBC broadcasting team at Live Aid, recalled the awe among other superstar musicians watching backstage. “Everybody realized that Queen was stealing the show,” said Gambaccini. These were the very words Elton John uttered when he rushed into Mercury's trailer after the set.

Who didnt sing at Live Aid? ›

Although several bands reunited for the event, one band that was asked to but didn't was The Beatles.


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