Benefit concert

Live 8, a large, international series of benefit concerts staged in 2005

A benefit concert or charity concert is a type of musical benefit performance (e.g., concert, show, or gala) featuring musicians, comedians, or other performers that is held for a charitable purpose, often directed at a specific and immediate humanitarian crisis.

Benefit concerts can have both subjective and concrete objectives. Subjective objectives include raising awareness about an issue such as misery in Africa (such as Live 8) and uplifting a nation after a disaster (such as America: A Tribute to Heroes). Concrete objectives include raising funds (such as Live Aid) and influencing legislation (such as Live 8 or Farm Aid). The two largest benefit concerts of all time, in size, were the Live 8 and the Live Earth events, which both attracted billions of spectators.[1] Scholars theorize that the observed increase on concert size since the Live Aid is happening because organizers strive to make their events as big as the tragedy at hand, thus hoping to gain legitimization that way.[2]


The Concert For Bangladesh (1971), the first modern, large-scale benefit concert

Examples exist in musical history of concerts being staged for philanthropic purposes. In 1749, the composer George Frideric Handel wrote his Foundling Hospital Anthem, and put on annual performances of Messiah, to support an orphans' charity in London.[3] While many composers and performers took part in concerts to raise donations charitable causes, it was also not unusual in the 18th and 19th centuries for musicians to stage performances to raise funds for their own professional work, such as Ludwig van Beethoven's 1808 Akademie concert.[4][5]

The modern understanding of a benefit concert is of a large-scale, popular event put on to support a charitable or political cause. In the modern era, the first benefit concert is generally held to be the Concert For Bangladesh, a programme of two events held at Madison Square Garden in New York City in 1971, which were organized by George Harrison and Ravi Shankar.[6] However, the format of most modern concerts was established in 1985 by Bob Geldof’s Live Aid event.[1]

Other Languages
eesti: Heategevus
עברית: מופע צדקה
Nederlands: Benefietconcert