London – After almost two decades of refusing to rebroadcast the Live Aid famine-relief concert, organizer Bob Geldof said Sunday he had, reluctantly, changed his mind.
Rocker-turned-activist Geldof said he had consented to a DVD release of the 1985 concert because of the large number of bootleg recordings available.
“I’m very excited that this has come out, but I couldn’t believe the number of bootleg copies being sold – they are quite literally taking food from the hungry. This has to be stopped,” said Geldof, who attended a launch party for the 10-hour, four-disc set with his daughters Fifi, 21, Peaches, 15, Pixie, 14, and Tiger Lily, 8.
“I promised all the people on Live Aid that a recording would never come out, but when I rang them all about this, everyone said OK.”
The mammoth concert, staged in London and Philadelphia on July 13, 1985, featured performances by David Bowie, Queen, U2, Elton John, Eric Clapton and dozens of others. Watched on television by an estimated 1.5 billion people, it raised $140 million for the victims of Ethiopia’s famine.
Later this year Geldof and co-organizer Midge Ure plan to release a new version of the 1984 Band Aid single “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” featuring acts including Travis and Coldplay.
The British government announced Sunday it would refund sales tax collected on the DVD and single, a move it estimated would generate an extra 4 million pounds (US$7.4 million) for charity.
“That’s a serious wedge, and shows a political climate change,” Geldof said. “I had this big fight with Madame X, Mrs. Thatcher, 20 years ago, and now the government understands politically it’s not worth it to go up against it.”