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Sunday, May 01, 2005

Geldof Planning a G8 'Live Aid'

BOB GELDOF is drawing up plans to organise a Live Aid-style concert to highlight world poverty during the G8 summit in Scotland this summer.

Organisers of the famous Live Aid concert held in 1985 believe that a televised pop extravaganza featuring world-famous groups would help focus the G8 leaders’ attention on suffering in poor countries. Heads of G8 nations will meet at Gleneagles hotel in Perthshire on July 6.

Plans for the concert are at an early stage, but it is believed that Geldof fears the leaders may not fully implement recommendations of an important report on world poverty.

The Commission for Africa report, produced with the help of Geldof and several African leaders, called for at least an extra £26 billion a year in aid and debt cancellation and was planned to be the centrepiece of the G8 summit.

A spokesman for the Band Aid charity said: “Bob Geldof is taking calls from people. He is starting to think what he can do in the build-up to the G8 summit, but there are no dates and no bands.

“He feels obligated, because his Commission for Africa report seems to be collecting dust.”

The original Live Aid concert helped thrust the famine in Ethiopia into the spotlight. Among its highlights were performances by U2, Queen, Paul McCartney, David Bowie, the Who, Wham!, Elton John, Madonna and Status Quo.

Obtaining firm commitments from equally famous groups for July will prove testing. Music industry experts believe that performers with the clout of Madonna, U2, Robbie Williams, Coldplay and the Rolling Stones will be needed to recreate the impact of the original Live Aid concert.

The new event, according to people close to the project, is likely to differ in key respects from the original. Geldof has previously said that a “Live Aid II” would happen “over my dead body” and it is expected that the format and emphasis will be significantly different. Sources now say Geldof wants it to “top” the original Live Aid.

www.timesonline.co.uk

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