Some of the biggest names in the music industry got together to play the Global Citizen Festival in New York City’s Central Park this past weekend as a way to show support and raise funds for displaced people around the world. It was slated as a reward for the volunteers who have spent their time helping others to have a better life by signing petitions and working towards ending extreme poverty.
The fifth edition of the festival touted a diverse and star-studded lineup of acts curated by Chris Martin, the lead singer of Coldplay. Headliners spanned several genres to include R&B singer Rihanna, heavy metal institution Metallica, EDM staple Major Lazer, and award winning hip-hop artist Kendrick Lamar, among others.
Other performers included Eddie Vedder, Usher, Ellie Goulding, Yandel, and Yusuf / Cat Stevens.
Alongside the musical performances were speeches, videos, and appearances by celebrities and politicians that highlighted various issues, including the international refugee crisis, poverty, gender equality, peace, and human rights. Tens of thousands of people attended the event, after receiving tickets in exchange for their commitment to trying to solve these issues.
“The Global Citizen Festival combines music and activism in a way that inspires and affects millions around the world,“ said Demi Lovato, who also performed at the festival. “I am proud to support this amazing organization’s ongoing efforts to improve global healthcare and to end extreme poverty.”
In an official press release, the Global Citizen organization reinforced its mission to hold world leaders to account “in their commitment to achieving the Global Goals for Sustainable Development” as implemented by the UN earlier this year.
“In response to over 1.3m actions and campaigning efforts by Global Citizens, world leaders made new commitments, delivered on previous pledges, and announced new campaigns toward ending extreme poverty,” Global Citizen announced, adding that this year’s event “secured 14 new commitments and 15 announcements from world leaders.”
One of the commitments came from the Netherlands, which dedicated $350 million over 3 years to reach 14.9 million people, keeping them on track of their goal to improve sanitation for 50 million people and water for 30 million people by 2030.
Another commitment was made UPS, Walmart and Johnson & Johnson in the are of women’s economic empowerment. Each committed to purchase $100 million from women owned businesses over the next three years. This $300 million commitment is set to affect 240,000 lives by 2019 and will be delivered through Global Citizen official partners at WeConnect International.
The festival was live broadcast so the world could tune in, and to spread the message of activism. Last year, actor Hugh Jackman, and comedian Stephen Colbert hosted the festival.
UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and music legend Yusef, formerly known as Cat Stevens, said during his set, “Hopefully these kind of movements will help us to be a bit more sensitive to others and what it feels like to be humans and to share, because this world is big enough to share and for it to go round.”
To promote the sanitation problems caused by a third of the world not having access to flushing toilets, The Global Citizen Festival will hold its first international edition in India with headliners including Coldplay and Jay Z on November 19, which is International Toilet Day.