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Aid to raise awareness

In the world of entertainment, sequels usually fail to capture the feel of the original or seem too much like a carbon copy, but never has a sequel event had as much purpose as Live 8. Most college students probably never saw Live Aid (1985) during its original telecast, mainly because the majority of us were still wearing diapers and completely unaware of the famine in Africa at that time. Live Aid raised more than $100 million in relief and became one of the few moments when musicians have stood up for a goal larger than themselves.

But for all its great stride, the Live Aid contributions are barely felt as poverty, disease and famine still plague Africa. Without the surrounding countries uniting in an effort to change things, the problems will continue.

Now, 20 years later, Bob Geldof has arranged another massive concert featuring all of music’s heaviest hitters. The purpose of Live 8 is to illustrate to the eight world leaders who are meeting for the G8 convention that the world wants action, not words. While Live Aid became a generational event with many fond memories lingering, Live 8 kicks it up a notch by having not two (as the original) but 10 different concerts.

More than 100 musical acts are participating in this event, and numerous networks have agreed to air various portions. The official Web site states, “LIVE 8 is calling for people across the world to unite in one call — in 2005 it is your voice we are after, not your money.” The concert event is hoping to simply raise awareness of the issues and get the politicians that can make these changes to take notice.

In London, Madonna and U2, two acts that performed as part of the original, take the stage with Mariah Carey, Coldplay and The Killers, to name just a few. The Paris concert will feature the likes of Shakira, The Cure, Craig David and Sheryl Crow. In Berlin, Green Day and Audioslave bring the modern rock, while Brian Wilson contributes nostalgia. It’s going to be a bit country in Rome as the genre-reigning couple, Faith Hill and Tim McGraw, takes center stage. In the good ol’ USA, Jay-Z ditches retirement, Destiny’s Child and Alicia Keys bring the smooth R&B sound and Sarah McLachlan mellows out the night. The final stop of the concert trail is Edinburgh 50,000, with Bob Geldof appearing onstage alongside Travis, Snow Patrol and The Corrs.

All these acts are doing their part in helping push the issue of poverty and will hopefully encourage leaders to take action. There’s no telling what effect the concert will have on anyone or what mark it will leave behind, but this is a sign that issues such as these can be fought through entertainment.