Beyonce, Coldplay, Pearl Jam to Headline New York's 2015 Global Citizen Festival
Ken Ehrlich and director Richard Curtis will produce a one-hour special from the concert set to air Sept. 27 on NBC and Sept. 28 on BBC One in the U.K.
Chris Martin has hit the ground running with his 15-year gig as creative director for The Global Citizen Festival. Fresh from his visit to India with The Global Poverty Project, where he played a surprise gig last week, Martin and his band Coldplay have been confirmed as one of four headliners for the 2015 Global Citizen Festival from New York’s Great Lawn in Central Park on Sept. 26. Beyonce, Ed Sheeran and Pearl Jam also will perform at the festival.
New this year as well are producers Ken Ehrlich (The Grammys) and Richard Curtis (director of Love Actually and Bridget Jones's Diary), who will produce a one-hour special from the concert set to air Sept. 27 on NBC and Sept. 28 on BBC One in the U.K. Other media partners include second-year partner MSNBC, live-streaming host YouTube (the full concert will be streamed at YouTube.com/GlobalCitizen, sponsored by T-Mobile), iHeartRadio (an audio live-stream will be broadcast on iHeartRadio.com) and Tidal, which also will stream the audio of the concert on Tidal.com as well as the Tidal app.
Free tickets to the festival are available beginning Thursday at globalcitizenfestival.com, where fans can enter to earn admission by pledging to take an "Action Journey" — which includes making phone calls, volunteering or participating in another effort to encourage the U.S. State Department to dedicate 50 percent of its foreign aid budget to the world’s poorest countries. Additional select VIP tickets will be available for purchase to the general public via Ticketmaster starting at 10 a.m. Friday.
Hugh Evans, CEO of the Global Poverty Project, says Martin has taken his new role "amazingly seriously." Upon signing on as curator, “he not only said that Coldplay would be happy to be part of it, he was so humble in his approach that he began talking to his fellow artists as well," Evans says. "He reached out to Ed Sheeran first, who said yes immediately, and around the same time he asked Beyonce to get involved, who was obviously onstage with Jay Z last year when he headlined and had a great experience, and around that same time we spoke to her management about doing something even bigger together."
That "something bigger" has turned into a multiyear partnership between Global Poverty Project and Chime for Change, a gender-equality campaign Beyonce co-founded with Salma Hayek and Gucci. As Evans notes, improved access to education for females will be one of the organization’s top priorities for the next 15 years as part of the United Nations' list of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to eliminate extreme poverty by 2030.
"I am honored to be a part of the Global Citizen Festival," Beyonce said in a statement. "It has always stood for improving the lives of people everywhere, but this year is especially rewarding as we all join focuses and utilize our talents for one goal: to end extreme poverty globally."
Adds Martin, "We love the Global Citizen movement and we love opening for Beyonce, so this ticks both boxes."
Pearl Jam also is a return performer to Global Citizen, as manager Kelly Curtis has been an active adviser to the festival since its inception in 2012. Says the band’s Stone Gossard, “We hope Pearl Jam fans will sign up to become Global Citizens — not just to earn tickets to the show but to be part of a movement that encourages leaders of nations with the greatest wealth to apply aid, trade and governance policies in support of nations and communities in the greatest need. People living on less than $1.50 a day deserve the opportunity to lift themselves up out of extreme poverty.”
Other corporate partners this year include H&M, which will host a clothes-recycling program at its U.S. stores in conjunction with the festival, and Unilever, which will host a multibrand activation encouraging global citizens "to become the next [Nelson] Mandela or Malala [Yousafzai]," says Evans.
And there’s still more artists to come, Evans adds. "When Chris came with us to India last week, we met with the prime minister and some amazing artists out there. We have some announcements with some artists around India, which will show the depth of what he’s done."
The 2014 Global Citizen Festival featured performances from Jay Z (featuring Beyonce), No Doubt (featuring Sting), Carrie Underwood, fun., Alicia Keys, The Roots and Tiesto, with appearances from host Hugh Jackman, actors Dianna Agron and Zachary Quinto, model Erin Heatherton, foreign leaders like Queen Silvia of Sweden, India Prime Minister Narenda Modi, Norway Prime Minister Erna Solberg and, via video, President Obama.
This story first appeared on billboard.com