Harvey Goldsmith, promoter of Live8, talks to The Resident

news: Harvey Goldsmith, promoter of Live8, talks to The Resident

Harvey began his career as a promoter in 1966 and, by the end of the ’60s, had created such events as the Crystal Palace Garden Parties and the 14-hour Technicolor Dream. A decade later, the concerts had moved to the largest stadia, establishing Wembley Stadium as a major destination for the top artists of the world and helping London to become the number one city for popular concerts.

As Harvey’s career expanded, so did the diversity of his projects. He promoted the first major global TV event, the Concerts for Kampuchea in 1978, featuring such artists as Paul McCartney, Queen and The Who.

Live Aid

In 1985, the pipe-dream of Live Aid was turned into a 140 million pounds sterling fundraising venture within 10 weeks by Harvey and Bob Geldof, uniting the world with music as never before. Live Aid was the first ever ‘Global Juke Box’ with two simultaneous concerts, one at Wembley Stadium and one at JFK in Philadelphia, when over 60 countries carried 17 hours of live television.

Devoted to charity work

As well as being a hugely successful businessman, whose work as a promoter and producer has led him to work with such names as Sir Elton John, Eric Clapton, Sting, Bruce Springsteen and Luciano Pavarotti, Harvey also devotes much of his time and energy to producing charity concerts. To mention just a couple, Harvey has been responsible for the worldwide Amnesty Tour and the Freddy Mercury tribute concert for Aids awareness.

Harvey is also well known for his involvement with the Prince’s Trust and is the driving force behind the Prince’s Trust Rock Galas, which started in 1986 – concerts that have included such luminaries as Tina Turner and Phil Collins, among others.

In 1993, Harvey was made vice chairman of the Prince’s Trust Management Board and, in 1996, he was honoured with a CBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List, in recognition of his work in the entertainment business.


Twenty years after Live Aid, Harvey Goldsmith is, once again, working with Bob Geldof, this time to organise Live8, a set of major concerts taking place on July 2 in London (Hyde Park), Cornwall (The Eden Project), Paris (Palais de Versailles), Berlin (Siegessäule), Rome (Circus Maximus), Philadelphia (Museum of Art), Barrie (Park Place), Tokyo (Makuhari Messe) and Johannesburg (Mary Fitzgerald Square, Newtown).

Music with a mission

The staging of these concerts, which include an all star line-up including Madonna, U2, Coldplay and Robbie Williams, among others, has been timed to put pressure on the world’s most powerful leaders, who are participating at the G8 Summit in Gleneagles, Scotland, between July 6 and 8, to drop Third World debt and increase aid.

Harvey is a big fan of the Algarve and has owned a holiday home here for years. However, his summer holiday this year is a little delayed (why would that be?)…

Harvey Goldsmith, who is so busy with Live8 that he is almost sleeping at his office in London’s west end, generously took a few minutes out of his hectic schedule to give this brief interview to The Resident reporter, Caroline Cunha, about his involvement in this historic project.

The Resident: After being the man behind the Live Aid concerts back in 1985, how did you feel when you received the phone call to be involved in the organisation of Live8?

Harvey Goldsmith: I have been a trustee of Band Aid since the original concert and, as this was the 20th anniversary, we half expected this to happen. This show is very complex as there are five major concerts and three smaller ones taking place all on the same day, each one in a G8 country.

R: It is well known that it was all last minute stuff the first time around. Have they given you more time to book the acts? (An eye opening documentary shown by the BBC last week about the organising of Live Aid in ‘85, revealed that due to the rush and his overwhelming eagerness to make the event a success, Bob Geldof allegedly announced on television some bands as performing before they had even been approached! Some had apparently not even played together in years! Bits of paper with names on were apparently being passed back and forth at the press conference, however, the general public could never have known the kind of panic that was going on behind the scenes.)

H.G.: Last time, I had ten and a half weeks, this time I have had eight and a half weeks. The difference this time is that the artists came in from the beginning.

R: How many hours a day are you typically working right now to keep on top of these concerts? Can you give an example of a typical day for you at the moment?

H.G.: I’m working 20 hours a day. Calls from Japan come in first thing in the morning and Philadelphia calls last thing at night. Everywhere else calls somewhere in the middle.

R: What kind of challenges do you face trying to pull this massive project together?

H.G.: It is much more complex than last time. We are knitting all the shows together to make a great TV show.

R: What’s been your greatest achievement as a promoter? Was it Live Aid? What other highlights could you mention from your career?

H.G.: My greatest achievement was Live Aid, now it is Live8. This is the biggest concert put together globally and it will have the largest TV audience ever, with 120 countries showing the concerts.

R: Do you think you will need a holiday when the concerts are over? Will you come to the Algarve?

H.G.: I will definitely be needing a holiday after the concerts and will definitely be at my home in the Algarve during the summer.

The time given for this short interview is greatly appreciated and The Resident would like to take this opportunity to wish the Make Poverty History team and Live8 all possible success.