Live Aid duo plan free festivals to rally support

LONDON — Bob Geldof and Midge Ure, the men behind Live Aid 20 years ago, Tuesday confirmed plans for Live 8 — a series of free music festivals designed to put pressure on the world’s richest nations to eliminate Third World debt.

Live 8 will coincide with the July 6-8 meeting of G8 nations at Gleneagles in Scotland. But rather than just a twin transatlantic concert like in July 1985, event will encompass five massive rallies in Europe and the U.S. this time around.

Geldof has adopted the objectives of the Make Poverty History campaign for Live 8. It sets out to pressure G8 governments to wipe out the debts they are owed by Third World nations, where millions are starving to death, and to create fairer trading conditions for developing countries.

The London venue will be Hyde Park on July 2, while details of concerts at the Eiffel Tower in Paris, Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate, the Circus Maximus in Rome and an as-yet-unnamed venue in Philadelphia will be announced within days.

Some of the acts already set for the global event are Mariah Carey, Coldplay, Elton John, Queen, Dido, Keane, Madonna, Paul McCartney, Scissor Sisters, Robbie Williams, U2, Sting, Oasis, OutKast, Mary J. Blige, Linkin Park, the Killers, Duran Duran, Razorlight, Annie Lennox, Joss Stone, Pink Floyd, Usher, Destiny’s Child, the Rolling Stones, Snoop Dogg, R.E.M., Will Smith, the Dave Matthews Band, Bon Jovi, Stevie Wonder, Puff Daddy, Jay-Z, A-Ha, Crosby Stills and Nash, Lauryn Hill, Brian Wilson, Faith Hill, Jamiroquai, Craig David, Youssou N’Dour, Yannick Noah and Alicia Keys.

No tickets are being sold for the London event. The organizers are offering the estimated 150,000 tickets via a mobile phone text message lottery. Every entry for that lottery will cost £1.50 ($2.75), and millions of music fans are predicted to take part in the lottery on June 6. It is understood similar lotteries will take place for the other venues.

The concerts will be shown on giant screens in cities across the U.K. and broadcast live on TV and radio.

Organizers have reportedly recruited some of the world’s most influential leaders, including the pope, the Dalai Lama and Nelson Mandela, to address crowds at the events in person or via satellite.

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