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Sunday, May 29, 2005

Twenty Years Later, Philly to Host Another Live Aid

Two decades after the original Live Aid, when rock stars descended on Philadelphia and London to raise money for Ethiopian famine relief, singer-activist Bob Geldof is planning another star-studded, humanitarian event.

Live 8 is set for Saturday, July 2, on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, a city spokeswoman said. The event will coincide with a second show in London, publicist Laura Perez told The Philadelphia Inquirer for Sunday's editions.

Details, including the lineup and other possible venues, remain secret. They are expected to be unveiled Tuesday morning at joint press conferences in Philadelphia and London, according to Perez, who is handling the press event.

The name "Live 8" is a nod to the G-8 summit, a meeting of the world's leading powers, set to start days later in Scotland. Geldof has pressed for the world's wealthiest countries to do more to fight famine and poverty in Africa.

Live Aid, held July 13, 1985 at the former JFK Stadium in South Philadelphia, brought Mick Jagger, Madonna, Tina Turner and other stars to town while others performed at Wembley Stadium in London. The effort raised tens of millions of dollars for Ethiopia.

"What started 20 years ago is coming to a political point in a few weeks," Geldof told the BBC on Thursday. "There's more than a chance that the boys and girls with guitars will finally get to turn the world on its axis."

The singer Sting has confirmed that he will take part in the event.

"Bob called me up and said I was doing it," Sting said. "He doesn't ask you, he tells you."

The concert will add to an already packed holiday weekend in Philadelphia, where an AIDS-relief concert headlined by Elton John is set for July 4 on the parkway, and three nights of varied lineups are scheduled at Penn's Landing beside the Delaware River. The Philadelphia Orchestra is scheduled there on July 1 and Ruben Studdard and Stephanie Mills on July 2.

City officials hope tourists might extend their planned stays to take in Live 8, the Elton John concert and other events.

"This will really enhance our Fourth of July," said Deborah Bolling, a spokeswoman to Mayor John F. Street.

Philly.com

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