In 1971 George Harrison and Ravi Shankar staged two concerts at New York’s Madison Square Garden that brought together a star-studded cast of musicians to alert the world to the plight of the Bangladeshi people, victims of simultaneous floods, famine and civil war. The Concert for Bangladesh, the first major music benefit for a humanitarian cause, supported UNICEF programs and efforts in that country. The George Harrison Fund for UNICEF continues to support UNICEF programs in Bangladesh and has expanded its reach to other countries where children are at risk.
To mark the 40th anniversary of the groundbreaking event, once again the music community is stepping up for UNICEF, this time to help provide emergency relief for children in famine and drought-affected regions in the Horn of Africa, a situation which UNICEF calls the “worst humanitarian emergency in the world,” with Somalia being the epicenter of the crisis. Today the Horn of Africa faces what is being called the worst drought in 60 years, and famine has been declared by the United Nations in two regions of southern Somalia. More than 2 million children are malnourished, to include half a million children who are at imminent risk of death.
As part of the Month of Giving, musicians and performing artists across the world will engage with fans at their concerts, and by tweeting and posting content to their websites and Facebook pages. These artists include the original Concert for Bangladesh performers Ringo Starr, Eric Clapton, andLeon Russell, as well as Arcade Fire, Monty Python, Elvis Costello, Crosby, Stills and Nash, The Doors, Selena Gomez, The Go-Go’s, Brian Wilson, My Morning Jacket, Nas, Jackson Browne, and more.
In a worldwide 72-hour online event, The Concert for Bangladesh feature film will be available for free streaming in its entirety from Saturday, July 30th through Monday, August 1st on iTunes, georgeharrison.com and theconcertforbangladesh.com. There are many ways to show your support for UNICEF’s efforts in the Horn of Africa; yesterday The Concert for Bagladesh debuted digitally exclusively at the iTunes Store (www.iTunes.com). Each download will benefit the George Harrison Fund for UNICEF, as all artists, songwriters and publishers associated with the concert will keep no income from the digital sales of the album and have waived all fees.