The organizer of next week’s TV concert for Ukraine described the event as “comparable to Live Aid”.
“The scale is obviously different – Live Aid was transatlantic,” said Guy Freeman, managing director of production company Livewire Pictures. “But it’s comparable in terms of people coming together very quickly in the face of an emergency.”
The event, broadcast live by ITV and STV on Tuesday, will feature Ed Sheeran, Nile Rodgers & Chic, Camila Cabello, Manic Street Preachers, Snow Patrol, Emeli Sandé and more, and was mobilized in just two weeks after Freeman was horrified by the “relentless” news and wanted to help.
He contacted ITV first before approaching the venues. “The NEC group was amazing. They said, ‘We have room at those times to [Birmingham’s] Resorts World Arena. ”Three booking agents volunteered to start contacting tours that were able to happen on such short notice.
Tom Odell, who has had four top five albums in the UK since his chart-topping debut Long Way Down in 2013, is one of them. “I’ve played in Kyiv many times, so when I saw the first bombs being dropped, it was heartbreaking,” he said. “I said yes [to performing] immediately.”
Freeman said: ‘Obviously I’m aware the industry is just getting back on its feet after Covid so it’s a tricky time to ask people to cut a tour short but such is the strength of the feeling that people are coming to go: I’m in.” When Odell was called, he had just performed at a charity concert for Ukraine in Bucharest; he had seen Ukrainian refugees being helped at the train station and wanted to The organizers and performers of the Concert for Ukraine offer their services free of charge, as does an extensive network of infrastructure including a stage and sound team.
“The number of companies that are helping is incredible,” Freeman said. “I have never known anything like it. Some of the UK acts were in the US, so British Airways gave us free flights to bring them back. Others provided everything from hotel rooms to trains.
Katie Rawcliffe, head of entertainment at ITV, said the broadcaster immediately said yes because “it was just the right thing to do. Normally, casting and budgeting for this stuff can take months, but we were ready to go within 24 hours. ITV donates all of its advertising revenue – around £3m – from the 8-10pm broadcast, and the vast majority of the £52 ticket price also goes to Ukraine (with the government waiving VAT).
“It’s a big logistical operation,” Rawcliffe said, “but there was so much goodwill. Other artists on the bill include Gregory Porter, Becky Hill and the Kingdom Choir, with more names added this weekend.
“It’s amazing how the audience is so galvanized,” Rawcliffe continued. “As a mother, I have spoken to other mothers about what they are doing in their area and what is happening in local schools. I’ve never known anything like it.”
Numerous other concerts have been organized to benefit Ukraine, including one in New Orleans by Canadian alternative rockers Arcade Fire earlier this month, and another in New York featuring the cream of the crop. -American guard like Laurie Anderson and John Zorn. Labels such as Ninja Tune and Sub Pop, as well as artists such as Belle and Sebastian, donated proceeds from music sales, and Massive Attack’s Robert Del Naja raised funds through publishing art prints. limited.
During a rooftop performance in Los Angeles on March 17, Duran Duran played Ordinary World with the colors of the Ukrainian flag projected onto the nearby Capitol Records building.
On April 3, the London Philharmonic Orchestra will perform at Glyndebourne with various opera singers in aid of the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) humanitarian appeal for Ukraine, which funds charities such as the British Red Cross, Oxfam and Save the Children.
Proceeds from the ITV Concert for Ukraine will also go to the DEC Appeal. “This is the second largest call in our history, second only to the Boxing Day tsunami call in 2004,” said DEC Director General Saleh Saeed. “The outpouring of support, from audiences to artists to businesses, is nothing short of phenomenal.”
DEC hopes Concert for Ukraine will significantly boost donations, which have already reached £200million and are being channeled towards shelter, sanitation and medical care. “The UN estimates that 10 million people are displaced [from] home, most taking what they can,” Saeed said. “This call is so important to maintain supply lines and protect people. A month ago children were playing games and now need urgent advice. People will suffer and need help for years to come, and it is important that we help rebuild people’s lives. We are extremely grateful to everyone involved in the concert.
Each Concert for Ukraine artist will perform one or two songs, each chosen for their message of support. Odell said: “I’ll do my best to entertain the audience, but the most important thing is that we raise a lot of money and keep the conversation going. [going] on the conflict.