Top five benefit concerts of all time - Catalytic Philanthropy

They have a luxury lifestyle, they have millions of fans and they turn their fame into good.  Celebrities have the power to inspire people and to make a great impact on making the world a better place.


Music is the universal language of mankind. – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


Of course, many of us would ask: "Why don’t they open up their wallet and make a contribution?" They do, but they also inspire hundreds of thousands of people to get involved. This phenomenon is called catalytic philanthropy. A perfect example of this is a benefits concert, where celebrities dedicate their time, inspire others to drive a momentum so strong that it raises funds quickly for a specific cause. Since the very first mainstream benefits concerts, billion of dollars have been raised for a range of good causes.

1. Concert for Bangladesh

Concert for Bangladesh was the first event benefit concert and was held in 1971 in Madison Square, New York  attended by 40,000 people.


Proceeds went to help the 10 million refugees who had fled Bangladesh’s civil war and the aftermath of the deadly 1970 Bhola Cyclone. The original show grossed $250,000, with no live broadcast. Later sales of the recording of the show raised the vast majority of the funds which came to $15m.

2. Live Aid

Live Aid was a dual-venue benefit concert held on 13 July 1985, and an on-going music-based fundraising initiative. The original event was organised by Bob Geldof and Midge Ure to raise funds for relief of the catastrophic Ethiopian famine. The concert raised $245m USD and was held at the Wembley Stadium and the JFK Stadium in Philadelphia.    

3. Concert for New York City

The Concert for New York City was a benefit concert, featuring many famous musicians, that took place on October 20, 2001 at Madison Square Garden in New York City in response to the September 11 attacks. Aside from performing for charity, the concert was an attempt to honour the first responders from the New York City Fire Department and New York City Police Department, their families, and those lost in the attacks. The event also supported those who had worked in the continuing rescue and recovery efforts in the weeks since that time. A total of $35m was raised.

4. Live 8

Live 8 was a string of benefit concerts that took place on 2 July 2005, in the G8 states and in South Africa. They were timed to precede the G8 conference and summit held at the Gleneagles Hotel in Auchterarder, Scotland from 6–8 July 2005. The events also coincided with the 20th anniversary of Live Aid. Run in support of the aims of the UK's Make Poverty History campaign and the Global Call for Action Against Poverty, ten simultaneous concerts were held on 2 July and one on 6 July. On 7 July, the G8 leaders pledged to double 2004 levels of aid to poor nations from US$25 billion to US$50 billion by the year 2010. Half of the money was set to go to Africa. 

5. One Love Manchester

One Love Manchester was a benefit concert and British television special held on 4 June 2017, which was organised by American singer Ariana Grande in response to the bombing after her concert at Manchester Arena just two weeks earlier. The concert took place at Old Trafford Cricket Ground in  Manchester, and aired live on BBC One in the UK with hosts Sara Cox and Ore Oduba. The concert was attended by 50,000 people. Guest stars included Justin Bieber, the Black Eyed Peas, Coldplay, Miley Cyrus, Marcus Mumford, Niall Horan, Little Mix, Katy Perry, Take That, Imogen Heap, Pharrell Williams, Robbie Williams and Liam Gallagher.    

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