Music’s biggest stars shone at the 2021 Global Citizen Live festival

From Ed Sheeran to Elton John, music’s biggest names united across the world for the 24-hour festival, Global Citizen Live.

After a year of COVID-19 grinding live music to a halt, the stars were finally out to wow audiences with their performances – all for a good cause.

Over 24 hours, more than 60 artists from six continents participated in this year’s event on September 25. Concerts were held in some of the world’s most must-see cities, “including: Lagos, London, Los Angeles, New York City, Paris, Rio de Janeiro, Seoul and Sydney”.

Jennifer Lopez Global Citizen Live festival
Photo: Gotham/Gc Images

Artists from all over the industry – pop stars, R&B crooners, bands etc – took to their respective stages, entertaining in-person crowds of thousands (every person was required to show proof of their vaccination status or receive a negative COVID test).

Sets were broadcast on TV and online which, according to BBC News, allowed the event to reach an audience of millions.

The event was organised by Global Citizen – a humanitarian “charity working to end extreme poverty by 2030”. This year’s concerts are “believed to be one of the biggest-ever international charity events”.

“Global Citizen Live is part of Global Citizen’s 2021 global campaign, a Recovery Plan for the World. The Recovery Plan focuses on five key objectives: ending covid-19 for all, ending the hunger crisis, resuming learning for all, protecting the planet and advancing equity for all,” the charity’s website reads.

After a “pre-recorded performance” by K-pop sensations BTS, the festival kicked off in Paris, with a live performance in front of the Eiffel Tower from the legendary British singer Elton John.

Over the course of 24 hours, artists such as The Fugees (reunited after fifteen years), Coldplay, Doja Cat, Stevie Wonder, Kylie Minogue, Nigerian-born Tiwa Savage, Brazil’s Alok, Delta Goodrem, Indian duo Ajay-Atul, Andrea Bocelli and many more, captured the world’s attention.

In between the music, activists used the time to bring awareness to the issues that the festival was looking to solve.

Actress and vaccine advocate Priyanka Chopra-Jonas had this to say in Paris:

“As we all know the world today faces many challenges … But every problem has solutions and if we can just rise to them – if we dare to believe that these solutions are within our power – throughout this pandemic we have seen what we can achieve when the world works together.”  

Global Citizen Live festival
Image: TIME/Global Citizen

Countries and multimillion-dollar companies answered the call.

Samantha Power, an administrator of the United States Agency for International Development, announced the US government would donate “more than $295 million … to stave off famine and extreme hunger, confront gender-based violence and address the urgent humanitarian needs the COVID-19 pandemic is leaving in its wake”.

According to BBC News, “Lego, Cisco and Verizon [also] promised charitable donations”.

With the event, Global Citizen’s ultimate goal is for “international governments to plant one billion trees, deliver one billion vaccines to the poorest countries and donate meals for 41 million people on the brink of famine”.