Vegas Strong benefit raises $700,000+
The 1 December Vegas Strong benefit concert raised more than US$700,000 for the victims of the Route 91 Harvest shooting, organisers have announced.
The show, which featured appearances by the Killers, Imagine Dragons, Boyz II Men, Jay Leno, Carrot Top and Vegas regulars David Copperfield, Cirque du Soleil and Blue Man Group, took place exactly two months after the mass shooting at the Las Vegas country music festival, the deadliest in US history.
All proceeds from Vegas Strong, which took place at Vegas’s T-Mobile Arena, will be donated to the Las Vegas Victims’ Fund set up after the attack.
“We are grateful for the outpouring of love from these icons of Las Vegas entertainment,” says Clark County commissioner Steve Sisolak, one of the people behind the fund, “who once again proved that our community stands as one to support the victims of this senseless tragedy.”
The similar We are Manchester concert in the UK, in aid of victims of May’s Manchester Arena bombing, raised £270,000 (US$366,000).
We are Manchester benefit raises £270,000+
We are Manchester, the September benefit concert staged by Manchester Arena, raised more than £270,000 for the Manchester Memorial Fund, which will go towards the cost of establishing a permanent memorial to the victims of 22 May’s bombing.
The successful 9 September charity event, headlined by Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, marked the re-opening of the 21,000-cap. venue following May’s terror attack, which killed 22 people.
In total, £274,085 has been raised for the charity, with further money to be collected from memorabilia auctions, which are still taking place. The government has also agreed to a one-off grant of £64,834, which represents the value of the VAT on the ticket sales.
“While we will never forget the horrific events of 22 May, we will not let them stop us from bringing live music to our city”
“While we will never forget the horrific events of 22 May, we will not let them stop us from bringing live music to our city,” says the SMG-operated arena’s general manager, James Allen. “[We are Manchester] was a landmark moment in helping the city move forward and I’m now honoured to present money raised by the event to the Manchester Memorial Fund.”
The lord mayor of Manchester, Eddy Newman, adds: “The concert has raised a significant amount of money for the Memorial Fund, and I’d like to thank the generosity of the organisers, the acts and, most of all, the people who attended.
“Manchester is determined to deliver a lasting and appropriate memorial, or memorials, for those who tragically lost their lives in the attack on 22 May. Developing these plans will be a careful process and time will be taken to ensure that families and other affected are consulted and involved as plans emerge.”
“A phenomenal success”: We are Manchester unites a city
Music returned to Manchester Arena for the first time since May on Saturday, as a capacity crowd turned out for We are Manchester, a benefit concert that marked the reopening of the venue and raised funds for a memorial to the victims of 22 May’s bombing.
James Allen, general manager of the 21,000-cap. venue, says the show was a “phenomenal success and this was down to the commitment of everyone involved, from the amazing artists to the dedicated arena teams, production and emergency services.
“However, it was the people who attended on the night representing Manchester who embraced the spirit of the event, and showed the strength that Manchester has – and that the arena is truly a part of the Manchester community.”
As with Eagles of Death Metal’s return to Paris, the concert – organised by the arena’s operator, SMG Europe – opened not with a minute’s silence, but a ‘minute of noise’, conducted by poet Longfella:
— North West News (@HeartNWNews) September 9, 2017
Other performances included the Courteeners, Blossoms, Rick Astley, Bugzy Malone, Pixie Lott, comedian Peter Kay and headliner Noel Gallagher, who shed a tear before performing Oasis’s ‘Don’t Look Back in Anger’ – a song which has become symbolic of the city’s resilience, and was performed by Coldplay and Ariana Grande at June’s One Love Manchester concert.
The arena has been closed since 22 May, when a Muslim suicide bomber, Salman Ramadan Abedi, detonated an improvised device outside its foyer after a show by Grande, killing 22.
Security for the reopening was provided by Showsec, with Kay – a former arena steward – wearing a yellow Showsec jacket on stage. The company describes the event as marking both a “new era for the rejuvenated Manchester Arena” and a chance for its stewards to “settle in and feel comfortable working at the venue once again”.
Andy Burnham, the mayor of Greater Manchester, appeared before the show and read out the names of all those who lost their lives in the attack. “Thank you for being who you are,” he told concertgoers. “We are Manchester, a city united. Nothing will ever change us. Nothing will ever divide us.”
“We have had to come back to show defiance, to show we are not scared and we don’t want Manchester to be scared”
Those injured in the attack, along with families who lost loved ones, were among those in attendance at the show.
Charlotte Campbell, whose 15-year-old daughter, Olivia, was killed in the attack, told the Press Association: “It feels surreal at the minute. We have had to come back to show defiance, to show we are not scared and we don’t want Manchester to be scared.
“Music was Olivia’s life. If she had been still here today she would have been walking through those doors with us, showing her defiance, that they may have got her but she’s not beaten. She’s here with us. It’s a massive mix of emotions, there will be tears, there will be laughter, but the main thing is we are here. We have proved no one is going to beat us.”
Manchester Arena to reopen on 9 September
Manchester Arena will reopen on Saturday 9 September with a benefit show, We are Manchester, to honour victims of the bombing on 22 May.
All proceeds from the show – headlined by Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds (pictured) and also featuring performances from Courteeners, Blossoms, Rick Astley and poet Tony Walsh, all of whom are from Greater Manchester – will go to a charitable trust, overseen by Manchester’s lord mayor, currently Eddy Newman, to fund a permanent memorial to the attack.
The 21,000-capacity arena has been closed since May, when a Muslim suicide bomber, Salman Ramadan Abedi, detonated an improvised device outside its foyer after a show by Ariana Grande, killing 22.
A benefit concert featuring Grande, One Love Manchester, was organised by Live Nation, Festival Republic and SJM Concerts in June.
“May’s events will never be forgotten, but they will not stop us – or Mancunian music fans – from coming together to enjoy live music,” comments James Allen, the arena’s general manager. “Manchester Arena has celebrated over 20 years hosting some of the greatest musical talent of all time, and the significant economic and cultural impact that this has on the city means that this legacy must continue.
“We welcome the reopening of the arena, a major venue which attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors, as a powerful symbol of this defiant and resilient spirit”
“Public safety is always our priority and we are doing all we can to keep people safe at our venue. Doors will open at 5pm and we are asking all customers to arrive at the Arena in plenty of time and and to keep personal items to an absolute minimum.”
Councillor Sue Murphy, deputy leader of Manchester City Council, says: “Those who perpetrate terrorist attacks want to divide us and stifle our freedoms. No one will ever forget the terrible events of 22 May but Manchester has reacted with love, solidarity and a determination to continue doing the things which make this such a vibrant city.
“We welcome the reopening of the arena, a major venue which attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors, as a powerful symbol of this defiant and resilient spirit. It is entirely fitting that the reopening event should be a memorial fundraiser. Plans for the form and location of any permanent commemorations will be determined in liaison with the families of victims and others affected by the attack.”