Alternative History

Live Aid was a multi-venue rock music concert held on July 13, 1985 (1985-07-13). The event was organized by Bob Geldof and Midge Ure to raise funds for famine relief in Ethiopia. Billed as the 'global jukebox', the event was held simultaneously in Wembley Stadium, London (attended by 42,000 people) and JFK Stadium, Philadelphia (attended by about 38,000 people). It was seen as monumental flop, while raising roughly £40 million, was considered a failure in respects to distribution of the money. The Derg, the Communist military Junta that was in power in Ethiopia at the time, was able to take control of much of the money made by the event, which was ultimately used in the Derg's resettlement program. The Resettlement program itself, while only indirectly funded by Live Aid, is assumed to be the cause of around 80,000 - 150,000 deaths and millions of displaced people.

Money Raised[]

Originally the organisers hoped to raise £1 million through ticket sales at Wembley Stadium at ticket prices of £25 each. In terms of Turnover, it had managed to reach that, selling about 50,000 tickets. A similar amount was raised in the US at the JFK Stadium through ticket sales. Throughout the event, there were addresses and numbers displayed for viewers to donate money, it was estimated at the time to be around £20-25 million but more recent estimations calculate more closer to £40 million.

Turnout, Viewers and Criticisms[]

Despite a high level of support for the idea, Turnout (and purchases for tickets) at the Stadiums were not particularly full, with Bob Geldof claiming with disappointment "We could have fit twice as many people in both". The images were displayed live in over 50 countries, with an estimated 160 million viewers watching the event. The event was also highly criticised, especially after the event when it was revealed that a lot of the money had been spent badly, after playing into the hands of the ruling Derg Junta. Many right wing and Religious commentators in countries such as the United States questioned why such a big deal was placed on a famine happing in a country they regarded as being in league with their enemy, the Soviet Union suggesting that the money would have been better placed helping those in countries more closely aligned. In regards to the actual event, even the fact it was held on a Saturday, a day that in many developed countries became as much a working day as Monday to Friday; instead of a Sunday where more people may have been available to watch, attend or donate to the cause.