A concert for a cause holds power on so many levels for sparking change in the world. Charity concerts have been able to capture the hearts of people around the globe and instill hope and generosity in the public sphere.
Before we cover the most notable charity concerts, let’s talk about what they are and why they’re so powerful.
What are charity concerts?
Charity concerts, also known as benefit concerts, are performances that are held for a charitable purpose. Most charity concert themes are in response to a current humanitarian crisis.
The performances are typically musical. Although, they can also include comedians, poets, or speakers. Basically, a performer could be any well-known person who agrees to entertain the public for charity. Over the last several years, famous singers have graced the world with their talents to raise funds for a variety of causes.
So, how long has the idea of a concert for a cause been around? Let’s take a quick peek into its origin.
A brief history
The concept of staging a concert for philanthropic purposes has been around for longer than you may think. This idea was born when charities realized that they didn’t have to rely solely on asking wealthy civilians for money. Instead, they started having celebrities perform on behalf of their mission. This, in turn, would get them even more money as it would draw media attention and a large crowd to their cause.
One of the first famous charity concerts was held in 1749 when composer George Frideric Handel put on a performance of “Messiah.” His show supported a charity for orphans in London and became an annual event. It helped the orphans’ charity collect resources to live out its mission.
Although you may have never been aware of Handel’s generous performances, it wasn’t uncommon for musicians to hold such events at that time. Even Beethoven held a benefit concert a few decades later, in 1808.
What makes a concert for a cause work?
Famous charity events are effective for generating funds and awareness for many reasons. Because most of these events are musical, it’s critical to understand music’s potential to bring about change.
The power of live music
Most people will agree that live music has a powerful effect on them. This is a benefit of live music that shouldn’t be overlooked when considering a concert for a cause.
Since the dawn of evolution, rhythm and song have had the unique ability to evoke the deepest emotions inside each of us. Listening to music in the presence of others makes us feel connected to one another. Thus, the experience can make us more apt to work together toward a goal.
This is part of the equation for why a concert for a cause is so effective in making change happen. But, the benefits of live performances don’t just lie in the power of the song itself. We can’t forget the compelling influence that celebrities have on the general public as well.
From Babe Ruth endorsing Red Rock Cola in the 1930s to Michael Jordan backing Nike in the 1980s, celebrity endorsement has been a proven method for swaying the public’s opinion.
One of the most important features of a benefit concert is the group of famous musicians who perform. Their performance is really an endorsement for the charity being promoted. What these celebrities are saying with their songs at charity events is, “I support this cause and YOU should too!”
Concerts for a cause need to have high-quality entertainment for them to be effective in raising donations and awareness. The better the line-up for a fundraising concert is, the more attention it’ll draw from the public sphere. As a result, more people will become aware of the cause.
Some of the most famous charity music events
Let’s go over a few of the most notable benefit concerts that catapulted a society of change.
The Live Aid concerts opened on July 13th of 1985 in London and Philadelphia and raised over 100 million dollars. This worldwide rock concert for a cause aimed to raise money for the starving populations of Africa. A few of the performers were David Bowie, Phil Collins, and Bob Dylan. With their music, they brought the people of the world together to help provide relief for famine-stricken Africans.
The One World: Together at Home
This benefit concert raised support for the world’s front-line healthcare workers shortly after the Covid-19 pandemic struck the United States. It raised 127 million dollars, which mostly came from corporations and philanthropists. This was due to a majority of Americans who were financially suffering from job losses and stay-at-home orders.
Concert For Bangladesh
This concert for a cause is arguably known as the first charity concert of the modern era. It starred famous musicians like Eric Clapton and Ringo Starr, who helped raise awareness for refugees of the Bangladesh Liberation War genocide.
Held at New York’s Madison Square Garden in 1971, this concert raised roughly 250,000 dollars and attracted 40,000 attendees.
America: A Tribute to Heroes
This 9-11 concert honored the firefighters and police who sacrificed their lives on the horrific, tragic day. Done in a telethon fashion, it featured 21 bands and artists just 10 days after the attacks on September 21st, 2001.
Known as one of the most memorable performances, the show revealed a dark, black stage brightly illuminated by hundreds of candlelights. This concert for a cause was developed by the heads of popular US television networks NBC, ABC, CBS, and Fox.
Hope for Haiti Now
After the earthquake in Haiti that took place in 2010, thousands of families mourned the loss of loved ones. Like the 9-11 performance, this concert for a cause was also done in the style of a telethon. It raised more than 58 million dollars. This money helped fund the rebuilding of the tragically hit Caribbean country.
Why we need concerts for a cause
As has been proven since the concert for the orphans in London in 1749, benefit concerts successfully raise funds and awareness. They’ve helped charities reach their goals in the past and continue to help today.
Aid to Ukraine
Currently, our attention has turned to Ukraine’s aid since Russia’s invasion on February 24th, 2022. The invasion has resulted in a huge escalation of the Russo-Ukrainian War and the largest refugee crisis in Europe since World War II.
The deliberate attacks on Ukraine civilians and the infrastructure that’s imperative to their survival have been deemed war crimes. These war crimes have led to over 10,000 casualties, caused predominantly by shelling and air strikes.
6.3 million Ukrainians have fled and 13 million have been displaced since the beginning of Russia’s aggression. Cities and towns lie in complete ruins and put more lives in jeopardy every day. Most noteworthy is the city of Mariupol, where about 90% of the city’s infrastructure has been utterly destroyed in the Russian siege.
This is why we need to raise help, awareness, and hope for the people of Ukraine.
Concert for a cause at The Pourhouse
On Wednesday, September 14th at 8:00 PM, we’ll be hosting a “Warrior of Light” charity concert for Ukraine. Come out to The Pourhouse and embrace the power of live music!