60,000 people gathered on the Great Lawn in NYC’s Central Park last night for The Global Festival, a free concert which was was timed to inspire activism around the UN General Assembly’s talks on ending extreme poverty worldwide.
Neil Young with Crazy Horse, Foo Fighters and the Black Keys headlined the show, which also featured Band of Horses and K’Naan.
Celebrities like Katie Couric, John Legend and Selena Gomez came on stage to talk about causes they support, from eradicating poverty to ending polio and malaria.
The concert itself didn’t raise much money directly. Production costs were covered by grants from people like Sumner Redstone and Jack Dorsey.
We went last night to check it out. Here’s what it was like.
The Global Festival was founded by Australian philanthropist Hugh Evans. He decided to become a philanthropist after he visited a slum in Manila when he was 14. The goal of the Global Festival wasn't to raise money, it was meant to inspire government action.
The City of New York required that 54,000 of the tickets be given out for free through the lottery. The remaining 6,000 were given to VIPs for a high donation price. Jack Dorsey's name was mentioned several times during the evening as helping to make the event possible, even though he wasn't there.
People were allowed to enter the Great Lawn as early as 2PM. The bands didn't go on until 5PM, though, so that meant a lot of waiting in line for the bathrooms.
Because the festival was in Central Park, there was no alcohol allowed. It gave the evening a calm vibe you don't often get at live concerts.
South of the Great Lawn, you could get a great view of some of New York City's iconic buildings. On the left is Two 57, which will be NYC's tallest residential building when construction is complete.
Here's the stage for the Global Festival. Unfortunately whoever designed the logo didn't realise that it would block the screen for a lot of concertgoers, ourselves included.
It seemed ironic to talk about ending poverty when The Beresford, home to people like Jerry Seinfeld and Vikram Pandit, rose above the crowd. A penthouse apartment was recently listed for $22 million.
You could buy lots of official merchandise from the Global Poverty Project. Unlike the porta potty lines, these lines were never very long.
John Legend, singer/songwriter and big Obama supporter, was one of the surprise guests of the evening. He sang John Lennon's 'Imagine.'
We noticed this man in the Kangool hat wasn't very interested in John Legend's performance. He was more interested in looking at the crowd behind him.
The Black Keys also performed. They agreed to do the event after the supermodel Erin Heatherton (a supporter of the Global Poverty Project) convinced Keys' drummer Patrick Carney it would be a good idea.
Evans, the philanthropist who organised the concert, was also behind the Make Poverty History Concert, which was headlined by U2's Bono in 2007.
Throughout the evening, celebrities presented on causes they support. Katie Couric, Selena Gomez, Olivia Wilde and John Legend were some of the highlights.
Wait, that's the guy who wasn't interested in John Legend's rendition of 'Imagine' earlier in the night! Turns out he's Peter Salk, son of Jonas Salk, the scientist who invented the Polio vaccine.
We found out that 1% of the world is still in danger of contracting Polio. Two countries where the disease survives are Pakistan and Afghanistan.
The Foo Fighters were one of the concert's headliners. Their front-man, Dave Grohl, told the audience that this will be the last time the band performs for a while.
The Foo Fighters played some of their biggest hits, like 'Learn To Fly' and 'Times Like These'. They got the crowd going more than any other act of the evening.
Neil Young with Crazy Horse was the final act of the night. Their first song lasted a full 20 minutes.
Turns out Neil Young is a polio survivor himself. The finale of the night came when Young and Dave Grohl sang 'Keep On Rocking In A Free World.'
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