Live 8 Concerts

Is holding a benefit concert a good way to focus public attention on global issues? We will talk about whether money alone can solve world poverty and whether the UN should take responsibility.

Pre-Reading Questions

  1. Have you ever heard of the G8 nations?
  2. Have you ever heard of Live 8 concerts?
  3. Do you know who Bob Geldof is?
  4. What do you know about the Make Poverty History coalition?

Vocabulary Preview

  • coalition: a union or group with a shared purpose
  • goal:  aim, objective, purpose
  • debt:  money owing
  • aid: help
  • praise: say something positive; compliment
  • criticize: say something negative; disapprove of
  • corrupt: dishonest
  • relief: lessening, reducing
  • provide: give
  • eliminate: get rid of, abolish
  • weapon: instrument that can harm someone; ex. knife, gun
  • focus: put attention on something

Practice these new vocabulary words here: Live 8 Concerts

Live 8 Concerts

  1. This set of free, live concerts was held on July 2, 2005, at locations throughout the G8 nations - Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Russia - the world’s richest countries.
  2. The concerts were organized by rock star Bob Geldof and leaders of the Make Poverty History coalition. Paul McCartney, Bono, Madonna, and Elton John were among the 170 acts that performed for about 2 billion concert-goers and television viewers.
  3. The goal was to pressure the G8 leaders, who were meeting in Scotland a few days later, to do more to end world poverty, especially in Africa. Concert organizers demanded that the debt of the world’s poorest nations be cancelled and that aid to them be increased. More than 26 million people worldwide sent messages of support for their demands.
  4. Many people praised Live 8 for focusing the world’s attention on poverty, but other people questioned the goals of Live 8.
  5. Some people believe that rich nations should not decide what is best for poor nations. Others criticized the Live 8 concerts because they feel that in the past, debt relief has provided corrupt African governments with more money to buy more weapons to maintain power. These people do not think that ordinary Africans will benefit from debt relief and increased aid until their governments are less corrupt and more democratic. They say that war-torn areas of Africa, such as Darfur, the Congo, and northern Uganda, need peace first. Without peace, debt relief and increased aid will do little to help those suffering and dying in these regions.
  6. In spite of these criticisms, the Make Poverty History coalition continues to work towards eliminating world poverty.

Post Reading Questions

  1. The goal of the Live 8 concerts was the elimination of world poverty. Do you think that holding a benefit concert is a good way to focus public attention on certain issues? What are some other reasons that benefit concerts are held?
  2. Have you heard of the Live Aid concert that was held in 1985? What was the goal of that concert? Was that concert a success?
  3. Explain the meaning of the following saying: Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime.

    How does this proverb relate to the issue of world poverty?
  4. Do you think that the Live 8 concerts helped influence world leaders to take action to eliminate world poverty? Explain your answer.
  5. Do you think that most people who attended the Live 8 concerts did so because they wanted to help eliminate world poverty or because they wanted to see a free concert?
  6. Name some other organizations around the world that try to help poorer nations. What are their goals?

Additional Resources