Deborra-Lee Furness Previews Central Park's Star-Studded Global Citizen Festival
The Great Lawn of New York's Central Park will be transformed into a massive free concert on Saturday, Sept. 28, for the second annual Global Citizen Festival.
Stevie Wonder, Kings of Leon, Alicia Keys and John Mayer will all perform at the concert, aimed to raise awareness of worldwide poverty. Instead of fundraising, fans gain access by completing "actions" such as signing petitions.
Hugh Jackman and his wife, Deborra-Lee Furness, have been supporters of the organization behind the fest, the Global Poverty Project, ever since they met founder and CEO Hugh Evans.
"Before you can get anything done, there has to be awareness," Furness tells The Hollywood Reporter. "That creates a movement, and everyone can play a role in this."
Furness, who founded National Adoption Awareness in Australia, later met Evans, and "we were both passionate about wanting to change the world," she says. For her, adoption and poverty go hand in hand. "I can't address the issues surrounding adoption until I see how many abandoned children there are."
Last year's fest drew 60,000 people to watch Neil Young, Foo Fighters and The Black Keys and marked the first concert where access was granted solely based on points earned through activist work. Furness is most looking forward to John Mayer's performance at Saturday's concert.
Supporting nonprofit partners also raised a total of $1.3 billion in commitment toward anti-poverty initiatives. This year's event is in partnership with the Cotton On Foundation, which works with Ugandan communities to build a sustainable future.
"I think it's a responsibility for us to step up and help those less fortunate," Furness says. "Once you have the knowledge about poverty in our world, how can you not be passionate about it?"
The festival is also in partnership with the Global Partnership for Education, A World at School Initiative, the Earth Initiative and many others. This year's festival handed out 54,000 tickets for the concert.
"Hugh Evans puts on a free party in Central Park. It's bloody amazing," says Furness. "That's why I love it. The entertainment industry has such heart. I'm hoping it becomes a tradition. When you bring a group of people together and have a good time toward a cause, there's nothing better."