Beyonce and her husband Jay-Z will headline the music at the FNB Stadium alongside several other stars: Coldplay frontman Chris Martin, English singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran, Pearl Jam singer Eddie Vedder, hit pop producer Pharrell Williams and R&B chart-topper Usher. The festival will also feature some of the continent’s most popular musicians including South African hip-hop producer Cassper Nyovest and Nigerian artists Wizkid, D’banj and Femi Kuti, who is the son of Afrobeat legend Fela Kuti.
Global Citizen has held festivals since 2012 in New York’s Central Park on the sidelines of the annual UN General Assembly to rally support, especially among young people, in the fight against poverty. The group has since branched out overseas with seminars and music in India, Germany and elsewhere. Hugh Evans, the founder and CEO of the movement, said he expected the Johannesburg festival to be the biggest Global Citizen festival ever in terms of reach, symbolism and lineup.
“On every way that we measure outcomes, the number of citizens engaged, the number of policy outcomes that are achieved, the number of lives that are affected as a result of those policy outcomes, we believe it has the potential to be the most significant campaign we’ve ever been part of,” Evans told AFP. Unlike traditional benefit concerts, Global Citizen distributes tickets for free to supporters who pledge to take actions such as writing their governments to support international development assistance.
For the Johannesburg edition, Global Citizen will also hand out tickets to people who are taking direct action for good including community health workers who conduct HIV tests or who instruct mothers on child nutrition as well as teachers and South Africans who recycle plastics.