Tibetan Freedom Concert
|Location(s)||San Francisco (1996), New York City (1997), Washington D.C. (1998), Amsterdam, (East Troy) Wisconsin, Sydney, Tokyo (1999), Tokyo (2001), Taipei (2003) Vienna and Geneva (2012).|
|Years active||1996 - 1999; 2001; 2003; 2012|
|Date(s)||April, May, June, July, August, September|
|Genre||Alternative rock, Rap, Punk rock|
Tibetan Freedom Concert is the name given to a series of rock festivals held in North America, Europe and Asia from 1996 onwards to support the cause of Tibetan independence. The concerts were originally organized by the Beastie Boys and the Milarepa Fund. The idea for a Live Aid-style concert for Tibet was conceived by members of the group during the 1994 Lollapalooza Tour.
Organized in June 1996, the first concert was held in San Francisco and featured acts such as Red Hot Chili Peppers, Björk, Smashing Pumpkins, Cibo Matto, Rage Against the Machine and De La Soul. It drew 100,000 people and raised over $800,000 for Tibetan and social justice causes. Additional concerts were held until 2003, generating public awareness about the Tibetan plight, particularly amongst young people. The concerts helped spur the growth of Students for a Free Tibet worldwide.
The Milarepa Fund was initially created to disburse royalties to Tibetan monks sampled on the Beastie Boys 1994 album Ill Communication. The Milarepa Fund's co-founders were Adam Yauch of the Beastie Boys and social activist Erin Potts, then in her early twenties, whom Yauch had met on a trip to Nepal. 
Tibetan Freedom Concerts at a Glance
Polo Fields, Golden Gate Park June 15 & 16 1996 $800 000 raised 100 000 Attendees
The Smashing Pumpkins, Chaksam-pa, Beastie Boys, A Tribe Called Quest, Pavement, Cibo Matto, Biz Markie, Richie Havens, John Lee Hooker, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Rage Against the Machine, Sonic Youth, Beck, Foo Fighters, Björk, De La Soul, Fugees, Buddy Guy, The Skatalites, Yoko Ono/Ima and No Doubt.
Speakers: Chimi Thonden - Tibetan Activist, Palden Gyatso - Former Political Prisoner, Shen Tong - Chinese Democracy Activist, Robert A.F. Thurman - Professor of Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Studies, Columbia University
New York City
Noel Gallagher, Foo Fighters, U2, Sonic Youth, Biz Markie, Alanis Morissette, Patti Smith, The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Radiohead, Yungchen Lhamo, Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals, A Tribe Called Quest, Beastie Boys, Rancid, Björk, Pavement, Blur, Michael Stipe & Mike Mills, Taj Mahal and Phantom Blues Band, De La Soul, Dadon, Chaksam-pa, Nawang Khechog, The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Eddie Vedder & Mike McCready, KRS-ONE, Porno for Pyros, and Lee Perry featuring Mad Professor & the Robotiks Band
Tibetan Freedom Concert, a compilation album covering events of that concert, was released on November 4, 1997.
RFK Stadium June 13 & 14 1998 $1.2 Million raised Over 120,000 Attendees
Beastie Boys, Radiohead, Sean Lennon, Mutabaruka, Money Mark, A Tribe Called Quest, Dave Matthews Band, Sonic Youth, Nawang Khechog, Wyclef Jean, Herbie Hancock and the Headhunters, Buffalo Daughter, R.E.M., KRS-ONE, The Wallflowers, Blues Traveler, Live, Pearl Jam, Luscious Jackson, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Chaksam-pa, Pulp. Many bands, including Kraftwerk and Beck, were cancelled after lightning strikes at the beginning of Herbie Hancock and the Headhunters' set on the first day of music, so an impromptu concert and free was held for a lucky handful of ticket holders that very night at the 9:30 Club in DC featuring Radiohead in which Michael Stipe of R.E.M. fame sang with the band on one of their hits.
Speakers: Xiao Qiang - Human Rights in China, Lhadon Tethong - Students for a Free Tibet, Palden Gyatso - Former Political Prisoner, Wei Jingsheng - Chinese Democracy Activist and Former Political Prisoner
Free Tibet '99
Amsterdam, East Troy/Wisconsin, Sydney, Tokyo
June 13, 1999 Over 55,000 Attendees $50,000 raised
Speakers: Xiao Qiang of Human Rights in China, Lhadon Tethong of Students for a Free Tibet, Nawang Pema- Tibetan Nun
Rai Parkhal, Amsterdam
Garbage, Blur, Urban Dance Squad, Alanis Morissette, Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals, Luscious Jackson, NRA, Gang Chenpa, Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts, Joe Strummer and The Mescaleros, Thom Yorke
- Tokyo Bay NK Hall, Tokyo
Speakers: Alma David - Students for a Free Tibet, Jurme Wangda - Liaison Office of His Holiness the Dalai Lama
- Sydney Show Grounds, Sydney
May 13, 2001 Tokyo Bay NK Hall Over 6,000 Attendees
April 20, 2003 Stadium of Songshan Tobacco Factory Over 8,000 Attendees
2012-05-26, on Vienna's infamous Heldenplatz.
As the final event of H.H. the 14th Dalai Lama's latest visit to Austria, the "Free Tibet" movement had organized a stage demonstration in presence of H.H., with another free concert. Performers were, amongst others, Harri Stojka and Loten Namling as well as several youngsters, including rappers.
Audience was ~10,000.
2012-07-08, on Place des Nations, in front of UN headquarters.
Initiated by Tibetan artist's Loten Namlings march Journey for Freedom, from Swiss capital Bern to Geneva, in order to attract public attention to the Tibetans situation in today's China, the concert was supported and performed by him and some 15 more musicians, especially by Swiss musician Franz Treichler and his band The Young Gods.
Audience, unfortunately for the performers, were but several hundred people.
Washington D.C. lightning strike
As Herbie Hancock took the stage during the Washington, D.C. Concert at about 3:00 PM, (June 1998), a storm system formed over the open-air RFK Stadium. While Hancock played, lightning struck fan Lysa Selfon. She was resuscitated on-scene and taken to the trauma unit of a local hospital, and was transferred the next day to D.C. General Hospital. Twelve people were injured; four critically. Selfon suffered the worst injuries and was visited in the hospital by a number of performers. Her burns were worst on her chest, where her underwire bra attracted the electricity and probably caused cardiac arrest.
- "A History of the Milarepa Fund". Beastiemania.com. Retrieved 2008-03-22.
- Treiman, Daniel (2007-07-28). "From freeing Tibet to rebooting Judaism". Retrieved 2009-12-21.
- Colton, Michael (1998-07-30). "A Flash of Fame For a Good Cause". Washington Post. Retrieved 2009-04-22. "The burns – the worst of which are on her chest, where the metal underwire of her bra attracted electricity, probably causing her cardiac arrest – are just the beginning of her problems."
- Jackie McCarthy (1998-06-24). "Can Music Save the World?". Seattle Weekly. Retrieved 2006-08-23.