Thursday, July 14, 2011

26 Years of Live Aid

Yesterday was the 26th anniversary of the Live Aid concerts in London and Philadelphia.  Musicians like Freddy Mercury, Bob Dylan, U2, Paul McCartney, and more came together to raise money for the famine that was ongoing in Ethiopia.   

Even with today's technology, the concept of Live Aid is still extremely impressive.  At the time, the event was one of the most ambitious broadcasting events of the time, with both concerts being carried by different networks: BBC in London and ABC in America.  In addition, MTV carried an entirely separate feed of the US concert.  During the broadcast, viewers were urged to call in and donate money to the cause.

And donate they did; the concerts raised over $100 million for famine relief in Africa.  Adjusted for inflation, that number would be $200 million today.  Imagine if one of your fundraisers got that kind of money; you'd be set! 

While there were other fundraising concerts before and after, Live Aid was an important event in the history of philanthropy and fundraising. It led directly to other "aid" concerts, like Farm Aid, and was the pre-cursor to benefit concerts like those for Haiti and Japan, and Stand Up 2 Cancer, aired on most major television networks.  Feel free to share your thoughts on how Live Aid may have impacted philanthropy and fundraising below, as well as any memories you may have of the concerts.

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