Rumors have been swirling for weeks that former Boomtown Rats leader Bob Geldof is secretly planning a massive sequel to the 1985 Live Aid concerts that raised millions to combat famine in Africa.
Geldof had repeatedly denied the rumors … until Thursday. While attending the Ivor Novello Awards for songwriters in London, Geldof finally tipped his hand and said “there’s something brewing … it’s big,” according to The Associated Press. He cautioned that the event to fight poverty in Africa was unique, and “there’s never going to be a Live Aid II.”
The U.S. spokesperson for the concert, Elizabeth Freund, said Geldof will preside at a press conference announcing all the details on Tuesday in London, with a possible second conference in New York. Rumors have had everyone from Madonna and U2 to Paul McCartney, Oasis, the Rolling Stones, Elton John, Eminem, Sting and a reunited Pink Floyd performing in both London and Washington, D.C., though Freund would not confirm or deny the speculation.
So far, only Sting has confirmed his participation. Also speaking at the Novello ceremony, the singer said, “Bob called me up and said I was doing it. He doesn’t ask you, he tells you.”
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Freund would not reveal the date of the show, but a spokesperson for England’s Prince’s Trust said last week that the charity had canceled it’s annual Party in the Park concert in London’s Hyde Park on July 3 so that the Geldof concert could take place.
The concert, referred to as “Live 8″ in the English press, is believed to have been timed to coincide with the gathering of the world’s richest countries in Scotland for the G8 summit (July 6-8), at which they are to discuss alleviating Third World debt.
Geldof said planning the event has been exhausting, adding, “it’s as petrifying as the buildup to Live Aid, if not more so. We’ll have all the biggest names we can find. But it’s not just about big names, it’s about making a point. … What started 20 years ago is coming to a political point in a few weeks.”
The original Live Aid took place in Wembley Stadium in London and in Philadelphia’s JFK Stadium on July 13, 1985, and raised $245 million for famine relief in Africa. It was watched by more than 1.5 billion people worldwide and featured sets from Elvis Costello; B.B. King; Black Sabbath; Run-DMC; Sting; Crosby, Stills and Nash; Judas Priest; U2; Queen; David Bowie; the Who; Santana; Elton John; Madonna; Paul McCartney; Bob Dylan; Neil Young; and a reunited Led Zeppelin with Phil Collins on drums.
Get involved: Learn about the poverty crisis in Africa, the proposed solutions, and how you can help. Plus find all of our coverage of the international Live 8 concerts and more at our thinkMTV Live 8 hub.