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Raise Your Voice: Pre-election Reeperbahn gets political

Reeperbahn Festival has finalised its festival and conference agendas for 2017, announcing the dates, times and venues for all events, as well as a special conference strand – Raise Your Voice – focusing on music and political engagement ahead of the German general election on 24 September.

“Pop is (and always has been) political,” reads a statement from the popular music industry event, which returns to Hamburg from 20 to 23 September. “Bands and artists have addressed important sociopolitical issues in their songs, and since the 1960s pop music has provided the soundtrack, as well as support, for major social transformations.

“Nevertheless, when those in the entertainment world – including musicians and businesses in the music industry – stand up for what they believe in, they are often subject to public criticism. Why that is, and what the music world can do to raise its voice and take a stand without coming across as inauthentic – this is something that will be explored in several panel discussions.”

Said panel discussions include Musik Bewegt – Wie geht Haltung?, in which artists Herbert Grönemeyer (pictured) Ingo Pohlmann and Fetsum will join representatives from Sea Watch, Doctors Without Borders and Viva con Agua to discuss the impact of social and political engagement; and Pop Goes Politics, with Fetsum (who came to Germany as a refugee), Büro für Offensivkultur founder Heinz Ratz and Global Citizen Festival Hamburg organiser Carolin Albrecht, which covers protest and political engagement in the pop world.

Music in the Middle East, meanwhile, will focus on the influence of music in a region afflicted by crises and war, with artists Shahin Najafi and Yasmine Hamdan and Cooking Vinyl/Palestine Music Expo founder Martin Goldschmidt.

All festival and conference events can be found on the Reeperbahn Festival website or the iOS and Android apps.


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First Global Citizen Hamburg ‘surpasses all expectations’

Live Nation Europe president John Reid has hailed the success of yesterday’s Global Citizen Festival Hamburg, which marked the European debut for the UN-backed benefit concert series with performances by Coldplay, Shakira, Herbert Grönemeyer, Pharrell Williams and Ellie Goulding.

Held at the Barclaycard Arena (16,000-cap.) ahead of today’s G20 summit, the show was attended by more than 12,000 ‘Global Citizens’ – tickets aren’t for sale, with attendees instead earning entry through civic engagement – and aimed to earn commitments from world leaders “towards [tackling] some of the greatest global issues of our time, including the education deficit, global health security, gender equality and the refugee crisis”.

The show was also streamed live to millions around the world via broadcast partner ARD.

According to Global Poverty Project – the organisation behind the festivals, which also take place in the US and, for the first time last year, India – actions taken by supporters in the run-up to the event secured US$706 million worth of commitments to its goals.

“I’m deeply grateful for the achievements of the Hamburg Global Citizen Festival … which has hugely surpassed all expectations”

These include Germany maintaining its foreign aid budget at 0.7% of GNI, “to ensure no one is left behind”; Canada, Australia and the EU reaffirming $151m worth of commitments to polio eradication; and Norway, Belgium, the Netherlands and several charitable foundations committing more than $172m towards the She Decides movement, set up to counter US president Donald Trump’s ‘gag rule’ prohibiting the public funding of organisations which advise on abortion.

Reid says the show marked a “great night in Hamburg to launch the European campaign for a wonderful cause and movement” and offered his congratulations to “Hugh Evans [the founder of Global Poverty Project], Matt Schwarz [of Live Nation GSA] and the entire team.” (Live Nation was a partner of the event.)

Schwarz, COO of Live Nation in Germany, Switzerland and Austria, adds: “I’m deeply grateful for the achievements of the Hamburg Global Citizen Festival. I thank the entire Global Citizen organisation around Hugh Evans, and our Live Nation team, for their outstanding cooperation during this premiere, which has hugely surpassed all expectations.”


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