Sarah Palmer, Customer Experience Team Lead
July 13th, 2015 will mark the 30th Anniversary of the Live Aid concert, which took place simultaneously at Wembley Stadium in London and John F. Kennedy Stadium in Philadelphia, to raise money for Ethiopian famine victims. In June of 1985, Bob Geldof announced the idea for a "global jukebox" to be beamed around the world (1). The concert would be carried on MTV, only 4 years old at the time, which would air 11 hours of coverage and during primetime on ABC stations (2).
The event raised $70 million dollars, far exceeding the organizers' goal of $14 million dollars (3). The event also pushed the technical boundaries of television by using 16 satellites for the broadcast. In comparison, the 1984 Olympics had only used three satellites (4). Live Aid was a continuation of the efforts of Geldof's Band Aid. It had raised over $10 million dollars with the sale of the "Do They Know it's Christmas" single and the USA counterpart, USA for Africa, which had raised $45 million dollars. Geldof stated that "Rock music has highlighted this issue in a way no government has been able to do, as the situation worsens in Africa, Band Aid has kept millions of people alive. It is not enough just to keep them alive. We must give them a life as well." (5)
Live Aid's influence moved Congress to pass PL 99-66 which declared July 13, 1985 Live Aid Day. The joint resolution reads in part, "Whereas the lives of thirteen million Africans are currently in dire jeopardy and massive financial assistance is needed this year to quell the African famine and to save the lives of such people." (6) Live Aid continued to be mentioned in Congressional Hearings after the concert's air date, examining such topics as the United States' role in relief efforts (7), the logistics of delivering aid to Ethiopia (8) and private sector initiatives to help with famine relief (9).
Many dissertations and ebooks are available through ProQuest that further examine Live Aid's impact on humanitarian efforts. Here are some titles for additional information on the topic – perhaps they should be read while listening to one of the many acts that performed on July 13th such as Phil Collins (in both the US and England thanks to the Concorde), Adam Ant, Hall & Oats, Queen, David Bowie or Rick Springfield, just to name a few.
1) By Richard Harrington Washington Post, Staff Writer. "Rock Against Famine." The Washington Post (1974-Current file): 1. Jun 11 1985. ProQuest. Web. 7 July 2015 .
2) Dawson, Jack. "RADIO NOTES." The Sun (1837-1989): 1. Jun 13 1985. ProQuest. Web. 7 July 2015.
3) "$70 Million for Africa Pledged from Live Aid." The Hartford Courant (1923-1989): 2. Jul 15 1985. ProQuest. Web. 7 July 2015.
4) Amato, Mia. "Pro Audio/Video: LIVE AID: TRIUMPH OF TV TECHNOLOGY." Billboard (Archive: 1963-2000) Jul 27 1985: 35-6. ProQuest. Web. 7 July 2015.
5) By Richard Harrington Washington Post, Staff Writer. "Rock Against Famine." The Washington Post (1974-Current file): 1. Jun 11 1985. ProQuest. Web. 7 July 2015 .
6) 99 H.J.Res. 325; H. J. Res. 325 HTTP://congressional.proquest.com/congressional/docview/t53.d54.00099-stat-0164-099066?accountid=1464027)
7) Africa: Famine Relief and Rehabilitation, Jul. 25, 1985, HTTP://congressional.proquest.com/congressional/docview/t29.d30.hrg-1985-hhs-0005?accountid=1464028)
8) Famine and Recovery in Africa: The U.S. Response, Dec. 5, 1985, HTTP://congressional.proquest.com/congressional/docview/t29.d30.hrg-1985-hhs-0007?accountid=1464029)
9) Private Sector Initiatives To Feed the World's Hungry, September 25, 1985, HTTP://congressional.proquest.com/congressional/docview/t29.d30.hrg-1985-lhr-0023?accountid=146402
Note: A subscription to ProQuest Congressional is required to access the links in the works cited.