Global Citizen Festival raises money for the poor

By Melissa Platero, CCNN Writer

Bono strikes a pose backstage at the Global Citizen Festival.

A young crowd of over 60,000 gathered in New York City’s Central Park this past Saturday for the Global Citizen Festival concert. Major faces like Stevie Wonder, U2’s Bono, Alicia, Keys, John Mayer, and the Kings of Leon played their hearts out for the free concert hosted by the Global Poverty Project. The charity organization is working towards ending extreme poverty by the year 2030.

As Bono introduced Stevie Wonder, he dramatically exclaimed, “He raises our hopes when he raises his voice! There is only one!” before the blind piano legend busted out on the ivory keys with some inspiring tunes. Backed by a huge band, his songs included “Higher Ground,” “Superstitious,” “My Cherie Amour,” and “I Just Called to Say I Love You.” 63-year-old Wonder’s powerful voice boomed across Central Park, sending chills down the spines of the audience.

This is now the second year that the Global Citizen Festival has taken place, and Wonder, a United Nations Messenger of Peace in 2009, was delighted to participate. “We will end extreme poverty in our lifetime,” he said with great hope. “Together we can work it out, and we will reach our higher ground.”

Mayer was no slouch either, oozing charm as he pulled off some groove rock songs like “Waiting on the World to Change” and “Gravity.” Keys, who brought up gender equality before going into her set, performed “You Don’t Know My Name” and “Fallin’”. She said, “We’re all on fire up in here. If you empower women, we’re gonna change the world!”

World leaders even joined in on the fun, as UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon took the stage, in addition to Malawi President Joyce Banda and Crown Princess Mary of Denmark. The co-founder and CEO of Global Poverty Project, Hugh Evans told Billboard that he was very excited by the event.

“And we want those global citizens to call on Barack Obama, to call on David Cameron, to call on the new PM of Australia Tony Abbott to do what it takes for the poor and the vulnerable,” said Evans, adding, “And that’s what makes this festival different, because the people don’t just pay $100 and go home. They’ve been working to get their tickets for months.”

Images courtesy of Global Citizen Facebook.