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African Aid Campaigners Say Edinburgh Events to Coincide with G-8 Summit


Through music, campaigners against poverty in Africa are hoping to deliver a message to the leaders of the world's countries who will be attending the group of eight summit of leading industrial nations in Scotland in July.

Anti-poverty campaigners say the object of the exercise is to place Edinburgh at the center of the world's attention for a day. That day is July 6, which marks the opening of the summit of the world's richest countries in nearby Gleneagles, Scotland.

Thousands are expected to attend a rally and concert sponsored by the organization called Make Poverty History. It will be staged four days after similar high-profile concerts are held in other cities like London, Berlin and Philadelphia.

In Edinburgh Tuesday, musician and event organizer, Midge Ure, said the rally, concert and party all rolled into one is focused on the summit leaders.

"If this group of people gets together in a passive and sympathetic way and helps make one decision in the Gleneagles hotel, one decision that changes someone's life, it is all worth it," he said.

The group is urging the world's wealthiest nations to cancel the poorest countries' debt and remove trade barriers so that goods from those countries can compete on the world's markets. Those are the key recommendations of the Commission For Africa, a group set up by Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Co-organizer of Live8, Bob Geldof, predicts that a million will show up in Edinburgh for the event. Midge Ure is not so sure, but says most of those who will come will be there for a cause.

"We have no idea who is gong to come, what is going to come, but we know the type of people who will come," he said. "You know, I am bringing my family. It will be fans. It will be people who believe in the cause. You know, to smash a window does not make any sense. You know, it is crazy. The people who will be there will be there for the party, there for the entertainment, there for the music. We have put some acts together on here that I have forgot to mention especially for the kids. You know, McFly. We have got to look at a real variety of stuff going on."

The highlight of the day will be the free concert staged at Murrayfield stadium with a capacity of 90,000.

Among the artists and groups already signed to play are Annie Lennox, Travis and Texas.

Longtime anti-poverty campaigner Midge Ure also hinted that he and fellow musician Bob Geldof might take to the stage as well.