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Musicians Unite in Australia for Bushfire Victims


Benefit concerts have been held in Melbourne and Sydney to raise money for victims of the devastating February 7 bushfires that killed more than 200 people in the southern Australian state of Victoria. The list of performers has included the U.S. band the Kings of Leon, the British outfit Coldplay and popular Australian pop singer Kylie Minogue.

American rockers the Kings of Leon have been one of the star attractions at simultaneous Sound Relief concerts held in Australia's two largest cities, Sydney and Melbourne.

Other headline acts have included British band Coldplay and Australian pop sweetheart Kylie Minogue as well as Barry Gibb from the Bee Gees and Olivia Newton-John.

The event is raising money to help victims of the Victorian bushfires and of severe floods further north in Queensland.

In Melbourne, pouring rain and chilly temperatures didn't deter thousands of concert-goers who've attended one of the biggest music events in Australia's history.

Australian rock heavyweight Midnight Oil has been reformed for the occasion.

Its lead singer is Australia's federal environment minister, Peter Garrett, who says the band was eager to help such a worthwhile cause.

"When the request came through for us to consider re-forming to play, we felt that the immense scale of what had happened in Victoria and the really necessary kind of giving from other quarters to help people meant that it was something we should take very, very seriously," he said. "We didn't have to hesitate too long; we said yes."

Money raised will go to the Red Cross bushfire appeal as well as providing relief for flood victims in Queensland. The funds will help victims rebuild their communities.

More than 200 people died in the Victorian bushfires, which left 10,000 people homeless. Vast areas of farmland and forest were destroyed in Australia's worst ever wildfire disaster.

A national day of mourning was held last month. Some areas devastated in the February 7 fires are still closed off by the police. The town of Marysville, which was almost obliterated in the disaster, remains a crime scene as investigators search the charred debris of buildings for more victims of a fire that was thought to have been started deliberately.

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