Music Agent Super-Summit at CAA Plots Amnesty International 25th Anniversary Concerts

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The human rights organization staged a series of memorable concerts in the '80s featuring such artists as Bruce Springsteen, Sting, Peter Gabriel and U2.

A meeting last week at Creative Artist Agency’s Los Angeles offices set in motion plans for a 25th Anniversary concert for international human rights organization Amnesty International, known for late ‘80s concerts and global tours featuring such artists as Bruce Springsteen, Sting, Peter Gabriel and U2.

Tim Hayes, co-owner of CBGB and its concert production arm CBGB Productions, tells Billboard that details on the concert, including when, where and who, will emerge in the coming weeks.

“Amnesty International is doing it again, and on Thursday (Oct. 24) that idea was warmly embraced by some of the biggest entertainment agents and managers in the world,” Hayes said. “We are focusing on one show right now that will take place on at least two continents. This will truly be a global event. We’re not ready to announce the bands or dates yet, but wanted the world to know that it’s coming back, and coming back soon.”

Hayes estimated some 45 agents attended the meeting, hosted by CAA managing partner Rob Light, including representatives from Paradigm, Billions Corporation, and the Windish Agency. Also taking part in the meeting were brothers Mac and Robert Reynolds, managers of Imagine Dragons and the Killers, respectively, and among the executive producers of the planned 25th Anniversary concert; and representatives from leading cable networks and other content platforms.

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Executive producers for the concerts, in addition to the Reynolds, are Sharam Hashemi, former board chair of AI, and Hayes, who says many artists have already been confirmed.

The Amnesty International concerts, along with the Live Aid concerts of 1985, are credited with creating a contemporary benefit concert model widely used to this day, and one that has a potential for a much broader platform in this age of digital media and social engagement. The AI live event platform began with the six Conspiracy of Hope concerts in the summer of 1986, featuring Sting and the Police, U2, Peter Gabriel, Bryan Adams, Joni Mitchell and Lou Reed among its headliners, which culminated with a massive show at Giants Stadium featuring more than 30 acts. That tour was followed by the Human Rights Now worldwide tour in 1988, and subsequent concerts for a decade.

On Nov. 5, Amnesty International will release Released!, a six-DVD/two-disc box set featuring four shows from the series. Hayes says that Springsteen, Bono, Sting and Peter Gabriel are among artists who recently did on-camera interviews to discuss the importance of the Amnesty International Concerts for an upcoming documentary.

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More meetings with other agents and managers will take place this week, Hayes says, “and our expectation is that in the next few months there will be a big concert headlined by a lot of stadium-level acts. “We’re pulling together the right artists to make this special and meaningful. It has been very heart-warming to see how quickly and enthusiastically the music community has embraced the continuation of the Amnesty Concerts around the world.”

"Amnesty is excited to be partnering with CBGBs and Rob and Mac Reynolds to create another historic concert, in the vein of our ground-breaking Human Rights Concert Series of the 1980s," said Hashemi, Chair of the Amnesty International USA National Advisory Council. "We hope to bring awareness of important human rights issues to a whole new generation through partnerships with these amazingly talented artists who are also incredibly passionate about human rights." 

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