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Critics said that it could not be done, that the
organization would be too horrendous, the musicians
too egotistical, that no one would watch it or give
donations. A group of middle-aged consultants hired to
evaluate the income potential of such a concert, said it
would raise less than half a million US dollars. The
concert was organized over three months and it was
not known until the day of the show, 13 July 1985,
exactly what groups would be participating. Many
countries only telecast the concert at the last minute.
The chaos, especially in Philadelphia, spelt disaster;
but through the efforts of talented organizational
people in television and concert promotion, the show
was viewed by 85 per cent of the world's television
The show blatantly, but sincerely, played upon the
television audience's emotions. At one point, when
telephone donations were lagging, a special video clip
of a dying Ethiopian child was played to the words of
the song 'Drive' by the group The Cars. As the child
tried repeatedly to stand up, only to fall down each
time, the song asked who was going to pick him up
when he fell down. The clip brought a response that
jammed the telephone lines worldwide. Donations
were received from both communist and non-
communist countries. One private donation from
Kuwait totaled $US1.7 million. Ireland gave the most
money per capita of any country, in total $US10
million. People there even cashed in their wedding
rings and houses. In twenty-four hours Live Aid, as the
concert became known, raised $US83 million.
Live Aid was to ad hoc disaster relief what
Woodstock was to rock concerts. It became just one of
many unique fundraising efforts. Geldof convinced
people in many industries and recreational pursuits to
run their own types of money-raising programs,
spawning an alphabet soup of organizations including
Actor Aid, Air Aid, Art Aid, Asian Live Aid, Bear Aid,
Bush Aid, Cardiff Valley Aid, Fashion Aid, Food
Aid, and so on. In France, which had not successfully
linked in with the fundraising activity for Live Aid,
students raised money in School Aid, whose success
was ensured by the refusal of teachers to participate. In
May 1986, Sport Aid saw joggers worldwide paying for
the privilege of participating in a 10 kilometre run.
Over 20 million joggers participated worldwide.
Sport Aid raised nearly $US25 million, with donations
being split between the Band Aid organization and
Bob Geldof personally oversaw the distribution of
relief aid in Ethiopia and Sudan, and was responsible
for ensuring, in a last desperate measure, that
Hercules planes were used to salvage the Sudan
drought relief operation. A committee, Live Aid
Foundation, was established to distribute monies for
relief efforts. It was run by volunteers, including pro-
fessional business people, lawyers, and accountants.
Bureaucratic administration was avoided as much as
possible. A board of trustees (Band Aid Trust) was
established to oversee the relief distribution. This
board acted on the advice of a team of eminent acad-
emics who had regular working experience in Africa,
from various institutions including the universities of
Sussex and Reading; the School of Hygiene and
Tropical Medicine, and the School of Oriental
and African Studies in London; and Georgetown
University in Washington. Of the money raised,
20 per cent went for immediate relief, 25 per cent for
shipping and transport, and the remainder for long-
term development projects vetted by these experts.
In addition, the Band Aid Trust approached countries
to undertake joint aid. For instance, the United
States government was ideologically opposed to the
Ethiopian government, but not to the Sudanese gov-
ernment. Band Aid teamed up with United States aid
agencies to ensure that relief efforts were directed
equally to these two countries. Band Aid handled
the Ethiopian relief, while the United States tackled
Sudan. Other countries were approached for transport
and funding. The Australian government was asked
to refurbish ten Hercules transport planes for food
drops; but in the end donated only one plane without
support funding. Other countries, faced with similar
requests, donated all the support needed to keep their
planes in the air. President Mitterrand of France, in
one afternoon of talks with Geldof, pledged $US7
million in emergency relief aid for areas and projects
recommended by Band Aid field officials.
The Band Aid organization also decided that
money should support drought reconstruction and
mitigation. Proposals for financing were requested,
and then checked for need by a four-person field staff
paid for by private sponsorship. Over 700 proposals
were evaluated, with many being rejected because of
their lack of relevance or grassroots participation. By
the end of 1986, $US12 million had been allocated
for immediate relief, $US20 million for long-term
projects, and $US19 million for freight. Project
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