Benefit concert gets set to rock 'n' roll

CAROLYN BELARDO, United Press International

Workers on two continents labored to set up stages for the simultaneous Live Aid benefit concerts for African famine victims, but skeptics predicted the 16-hour weekend musical marathons will not reach as many people as projected.

The concerts featuring some of the biggest names in British and American rock 'n' roll were to be beamed by satellite to an estimated 1.5 billion people around the world.


'We will transmit it as we promised, but it is just that I cannot honestly say it is going to 1.5 billion people,' said Simon Patch, operations manager of the Brightstar satellite consortium.

The Times of London reported Thursday chances are increasingly slim the concerts will turn into the 'global jukebox' promised by the organizers.

The concert was scheduled to start at 7 a.m. EDT in London's Wembley Stadium and end at 11 p.m. at Philadelphia's JFK Stadium. The performances, expected to raise up to $50 million for African famine victims, will feature Mick Jagger, Tina Turner, Bob Dylan and Paul McCartney.

'Everything is going according to schedule,' said Barbara Rose, spokeswoman for Electric Factory Concerts, which is producing the Philadelphia concert.

About 200 electricians, technicians and construction crews will spend today putting the finishing touches on JFK Stadium.


A live broadcast of the concert will be transmitted in its entirety over the cable television network MTV and ABC television will broadcast the concert from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. EDT.

There were reports former Beatles George Harrison and Ringo Starr would join McCartney and Julian Lennon, son of dead Beatle John Lennon, on stage in Wembley for a finale.

But a spokesman for the concert in London denied the rumors: 'It's absolutely untrue -- just a bunch of rumors set around town.'

Lennon and McCartney are both scheduled to appear during the concert, but the spokesman emphasized their appearance will be separate.

'They are scheduled five hours apart and I can categorically say the rumors are not true,' he said.

There were no plans for Harrison or Starr to make appearances at the concert, the spokesman said.

The concert, to be attended by 90,000 fans in Philadelphia and 72,000 in London, will be beamed live by satellite to about 90 nations in Europe, South America, the Middle East, Japan, India and Australia.

Some Eastern bloc countries, including Russia, also will receive the live concert but there was no indication when it would be shown to televison audiences.

Worldwide Sports and Entertainment, which is coordinating broadcast coverage, has estimated more than 500 million television sets and 1.5 billion people would be reached, although British television officials have said that number was too high.


The Times reported China has refused to show any of the concert, while there were also no firm agreements for showings in some parts of Africa, Asia and South America.

Patch said the shows would be received in the United States, Europe, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong and Trinidad and Tobago.

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