Global Citizen Festival

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Global Citizen Festival
Coordinates40°47′N 73°58′W / 40.783°N 73.967°W / 40.783; -73.967 United States
19°4′N 72°52′E / 19.067°N 72.867°E / 19.067; 72.867 India
Years active9
Founded byRyan Gall, Hugh Evans
Attendance~60,000 (New York City)[1]
Organized byGlobal Citizen

The Global Citizen Festival is an annual music festival started in 2012 and organized by Global Poverty Project. It was founded by Ryan Gall and Hugh Evans.[2] Gall said he was inspired by visiting Austin City Limits and seeing the branding on the stage, but wanting to replace the corporate branding with branding from charities.[3]

In 2015, the organization announced that Coldplay lead vocalist Chris Martin would serve as the festival's curator for the next 15 years.[4]


The Global Citizen Festival is part of a movement to end extreme poverty. By contributing to charity acts on the website, including watching videos and signing petitions, fans can get free tickets to the festival. In addition, the organizers are striving to make the event "global" by live-streaming events in public locations. Since 2015, the goals of the festival have been closely aligned with the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which include 17 tasks to end extreme global poverty by 2030.[4]

According to Time, Global Citizen's model of ticket distribution in 2017 generated 1.6 million actions in two months, equaling commitments and announcements of $3.2 billion for sustainable development and affecting 221 million people.[2][5]



Co-founder Ryan Gall created the Global Citizen Festival when he met festival co-founder Hugh Evans at Columbia University at a conference and proposed the idea of holding a festival on the Great Lawn of Central Park. The pair later approached concert promoter Goldenvoice to launch the festival in 2012.[2][6]

Gall says the inspiration for the festival came from visiting Austin City Limits and seeing the branding on each stage but wanting to replace the corporate branding with branding from charities.[3] Tickets to the festival are distributed through a lottery system with festival-goers performing actions on Global Citizen's website, (which Gall co-founded), for a chance to attend the event.[7] The festival has taken its model to Australia, India, the United Kingdom, Germany, Belgium and Canada and is one of the largest, most visible events drawing attention to sustainability and anti-poverty efforts for young people around the world.[3]

The Global Citizen Music Festival was first held in New York City on September 29, 2012. The headliners included the Foo Fighters, The Black Keys, John Legend, Band of Horses, K'naan, and Neil Young & Crazy Horse.[8]


In its second year, the festival was held on September 28, 2013. The headliners included Stevie Wonder, Kings of Leon, Alicia Keys, and John Mayer. The event's major themes for the year were education, women's equality, global health, and global partnerships. The event was produced by Anschutz Entertainment Group and Diversified Production Services, with Ticketmaster serving as the event's ticketing partner.[9][10]


In 2014, the festival was held on September 27. The line-up included Alicia Keys playing a special piece of music for the show along with Palestinian and Jewish artists. Tiësto opened, followed by Fun, The Roots, Carrie Underwood, No Doubt – joined by Sting for a song, and Jay Z – whose set featured two duets with Beyoncé. The event was hosted by Hugh Jackman, alongside presenters Dianna Agron, Zachary Quinto and Erin Heatherton. Speakers at the event included Queen Silvia of Sweden, Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi,[11] Prime Minister of Norway Erna Solberg and US President Barack Obama via a pre-recorded video.[12][13]


The 2015 festival, which was held on Central Park's Great Lawn in New York City on September 26, included performances by Beyoncé (joined by Ed Sheeran for "Drunk in Love"), Coldplay (joined by Ariana Grande for "Just a Little Bit of Your Heart"), Pearl Jam (joined by Beyoncé for "Redemption Song"), Ed Sheeran (joined by Chris Martin for "Thinking Out Loud"), and Fall Out Boy. Special appearances and speakers included Stephen Colbert, Hugh Jackman, Leonardo DiCaprio, Vice President Joe Biden and First Lady Michelle Obama. The show was broadcast live on MSNBC in the U.S. The Hong Kong free-to-air TV channel TVB Pearl aired the festival on the first day of January 2016. An edited one-hour special aired on NBC in the U.S. on September 27 and the BBC One in the UK on September 28. The edited version also aired in Australia on September 30, on the Nine Network.[14][15]


The 2016 Global Citizen Canada was held on September 17, 2016, in Montreal, Canada, at Bell Centre. This performance was held a week before the Global Citizen Festival in New York. The headliners included Usher backed by The Roots, Metric, and Grimes, as well as special guest Half Moon Run, and Charlotte Cardin. There were also special appearances by Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau and Bill Gates.[16]

The 2016 festival was held on September 24 in New York City at Central Park's Great Lawn and included performances by headliners Rihanna, Kendrick Lamar, Demi Lovato, Major Lazer, and Metallica, as well as special guests Usher, Coldplay's Chris Martin, Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder, Ellie Goulding, Yandel, and Yusuf / Cat Stevens. Lovato replaced Selena Gomez, who was originally slated to be one of the festival's headliners, but had to pull out of the lineup for health reasons.[17] Special appearances and speakers included Chelsea Handler, Deborra-Lee and Hugh Jackman, Neil Patrick Harris, Priyanka Chopra, Salma Hayek Pinault, and Seth Meyers. The event was broadcast live on MSNBC.[18]

The 2016 festival was also hosted in Mumbai, India,[19] where it was headlined by Coldplay and Jay Z. Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi made a short address to the crowd via video conference.[20] Other performers included Demi Lovato, A. R. Rahman, The Vamps, Arijit Singh, Shraddha Kapoor, Sonakshi Sinha, Shankar Ehsaan Loy, Monali Thakur, Ranveer Singh. Farhan Akhtar, and Amitabh Bachchan. There were also appearances by Indian film actors Shah Rukh Khan, Parineeti Chopra, Sonam Kapoor, Vidya Balan, Alia Bhatt, Ayushmann Khurrana, and Arjun Kapoor, and cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar.


In 2017, the festival was held on the eve of the G20 Hamburg summit on July 6. The concert in the Barclaycard Arena was headlined by Coldplay, Shakira, and Herbert Grönemeyer. Other performers and presenters included Pharrell Williams, Ellie Goulding, Demi Lovato, Khatia Buniatishvili, Andreas Bourani, Sido, Lena, Elyas M'Barek, Hadnet Tesfai [de], Nikeata Thompson [de], Barbara Schöneberger, and Linda Zervakis.[21][22] Appearances of politicians during the concert included the first mayor of Hamburg Olaf Scholz, Justin Trudeau, Erna Solberg, Mauricio Macri, and Sigmar Gabriel.[22] The event was broadcast live on the Global Citizen Festival's YouTube channel.[23] During the event, Argentinian president Mauricio Macri announced that the Global Citizen Festival would be invited to the 2018 G20 Buenos Aires summit.[citation needed]

The main 2017 festival was held at Central Park's Great Lawn in New York City on September 23 and was headlined by Stevie Wonder, Green Day, The Killers, The Lumineers, and The Chainsmokers, with special performances by Pharrell Williams, Big Sean, Andra Day, and Alessia Cara.[24] Some of the notable hosts and presenters were Hugh Jackman, Demi Lovato, Jane Goodall, Whoopi Goldberg, Priyanka Chopra, Lupita Nyong'o, Connie Britton, and Camren Bicondova.[25] During his performance, Wonder took a knee in solidarity with the U.S. national anthem protests.[26]


The main 2018 festival was held at Central Park's Great Lawn in New York City on September 29 and was headlined by Janet Jackson, The Weeknd, Shawn Mendes, Cardi B and Janelle Monáe, with John Legend being a special guest performer.[27] Some of the notable hosts and presenters were Hugh Jackman, Deborra-lee Furness, Danai Gurira, Chris Martin, Naomi Campbell, Dakota Johnson, Robert De Niro, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, and U.S. Sen. Chris Coons.[1] During the festival, a loud noise was heard to some attendees, leading to many believing there was an active shooter, as many ran toward the nearest exit. It was first believed to be as a result of a large police barrier having collapsed, but it was soon revealed to be from someone stepping on and popping a drink bottle. The situation was soon resolved and the festival continued, although some attendees were unable to re-enter the park for the festival and a few dozen were injured.[28]

It was announced that a festival would take place on December 2 in the FNB Stadium, Johannesburg, South Africa, that would celebrate the life's work and lasting legacy of Nelson Mandela for his 100th birthday. Beyoncé and Jay-Z headlined the festival, followed by performances from Cassper Nyovest, Chris Martin, Kacey Musgraves, Pharrell Williams, Eddie Vedder, Ed Sheeran, D'banj, Femi Kuti, Sho Madjozi, Tiwa Savage, Usher and Wizkid. Presenters included Naomi Campbell, Bob Geldof, Gayle King, Tyler Perry, Trevor Noah, Forest Whitaker and Bonang Matheba. Oprah Winfrey delivered the keynote address for the event, which served as the culmination of Mandela 100, Global Citizen's collaboration with the House of Mandela.[29]

The Johannesburg show was marred by violence as many concertgoers were robbed and assaulted outside the venue by armed attackers, allegedly due to a total lack of police and security presence. Twitter users reported that SAPS had not given them the help they needed though they were asked multiple times. It caused a debate whether the festival should have had more security or lack of help from the security and SAPS.[30]


The main 2019 festival took place on September 28 at Central Park's Great Lawn in New York City, with Queen + Adam Lambert, Pharrell Williams, Alicia Keys, OneRepublic, H.E.R., and Carole King headlining, and French Montana, Ben Platt, Jon Batiste and Stay Human, David Gray, and NCT 127 as special guest performers. Hugh Jackman and Deborra-lee Furness returned to host the festival alongside Matt Bomer, Connie Britton, Rachel Brosnahan, Leonardo DiCaprio, Nina Dobrev, Elvis Duran, Becky G, Taraji P. Henson, Dakota Johnson, Becky Lynch, Aasif Mandvi, Rami Malek, Greta Thunberg, Bridget Moynahan, Bill Nye, Kal Penn, Natalie Portman, Joy Reid, Erin Richards, Seth Rollins, Savannah Sellers, and Forest Whitaker.[31][32]


The 2021 event took place concurrently in multiple cities around the world, including Lagos, Seoul, Paris, New York City, Rio de Janeiro, Los Angeles, London, Mumbai, and Sydney, on 25–26 September.[33]


  1. ^ a b Gill, Ayanna (September 30, 2018). "Top Moments from the 2018 Global Citizens Festival". ABC News. Retrieved September 30, 2018.
  2. ^ a b c "Global Citizen Festival's Co-Founder Explains Its Birth & Mission". Billboard. Retrieved November 19, 2018.
  3. ^ a b c "Beyonce, Jay-Z Among Headliners at Global Citizen Festival Honoring Nelson Mandela Centennial". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved November 19, 2018.
  4. ^ a b Hampp, Andrew (September 20, 2015). "Chris Martin Talks New 15-Year Gig as Curator of Global Citizen Festival". Billboard.
  5. ^ "Stevie Wonder Takes a Knee and Green Day Rouses the Crowd at Global Citizen Festival". Time. Retrieved November 19, 2018.
  6. ^ "Pop Stars Join Growing Effort to Aid the Poor". New York Times. Retrieved November 19, 2018.
  7. ^ "Sam Roberts Band to Headline Free-For-Activists Global Citizen Event in Vancouver". samaritanmag. Retrieved November 19, 2018.
  8. ^ Parales, Jon (September 30, 2012). "Turning Up the Volume on Global Poverty". The New York Times. Retrieved September 27, 2016.
  9. ^ Peters, Mitchell (August 11, 2013). "Global Citizen Festival: Stevie Wonder, Kings of Leon, Alicia Keys and John Mayer Heading to Central Park". Billboard. Retrieved September 27, 2016.
  10. ^ "Global Citizen Festival 2013". Consequence of Sound. September 28, 2013.
  11. ^ "PM's remarks at the Global Citizens Festival, Central Park, New York City". Retrieved September 27, 2014.
  12. ^ Hampp, Andrew; Brown, Harley (September 28, 2014). "Global Citizen Festival 2014: Beyonce Duets With Jay Z, Sting Joins No Doubt & 8 More Highlights". Billboard. Retrieved September 27, 2016.
  13. ^ "Global Citizen Fest 2014: Jay Z, No Doubt Battle Poverty in NYC". Rolling Stone. September 29, 2014. Retrieved September 27, 2016.
  14. ^ Hampp, Andrew (August 9, 2015). "Beyoncé, Coldplay, Pearl Jam to Headline New York's 2015 Global Citizen Festival". Billboard. Retrieved September 27, 2016.
  15. ^ Ashagre, Aggi (September 26, 2015). "Global Citizen Fest 2015: Beyonce & Ed Sheeran Do 'Drunk In Love,' Ariana & Coldplay Duet & More". Billboard. Retrieved September 27, 2016.
  16. ^ Blistein, Jon (August 16, 2016). "Usher, Metric, Grimes Top First Global Citizen Canada Concert". Retrieved February 16, 2019.
  17. ^ Nelson, Jeff (September 7, 2016). "Demi Lovato Joins 2016 Global Citizen Festival Lineup as Headliner". People. Retrieved September 7, 2016.
  18. ^ "Rihanna, Metallica, Kendrick Lamar set for Global Citizen Festival in NYC's Central Park". New York Daily News. July 26, 2016. Retrieved July 26, 2016.
  19. ^ Chandresh Vaghanani (September 12, 2016). "Coldplay is Coming To India And You Can Attend The Concert For Free". All Events in City. Retrieved March 26, 2019.
  20. ^ "Won't stand between you and Coldplay: PM Modi addresses Global Citizen Festival". Retrieved November 20, 2016.
  21. ^ "Global Citizen Festival poster". Retrieved June 24, 2017.
  22. ^ a b "PM Trudeau to take part in Global Citizen festival ahead of G20 in Hamburg". Retrieved June 24, 2017.
  23. ^ "Global Citizen Festival Hamburg Livestream: Coldplay, Herbert Grönemeyer, Ellie Goulding, Shakira, and More". Retrieved July 5, 2017.
  24. ^ "The 2017 Global Citizen Festival NYC". Retrieved August 1, 2017.
  25. ^ "Demi Lovato, Hugh Jackman & More Revealed As Hosts for 2017 Global Citizen Festival". Retrieved September 23, 2017.
  26. ^ "'I'm taking a knee for America': Stevie Wonder joins a movement Trump deplores". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved May 12, 2021.
  27. ^ Petronzio, Matt (August 7, 2018). "Here's Who Is Playing Global Citizen Festival 2018 in New York City". Global Citizen. Retrieved September 30, 2018.
  28. ^ Evans, Hugh (September 30, 2018). "A Message About Last Night's Global Citizen Festival From Founder & CEO Hugh Evans". Global Citizen. Retrieved September 30, 2018.
  29. ^ Hughes, Hilary (July 9, 2018). "Beyonce & JAY-Z, Ed Sheeran, Eddie Vedder and More to Headline Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100". Billboard. Retrieved July 9, 2018.
  30. ^ "Horror stories of crime mar Global Citizen Festival".
  31. ^ "Here's Who Is Playing the 2019 Global Citizen Festival in New York City". Global Citizen. July 30, 2019. Retrieved July 30, 2019.
  32. ^ "David Gray, NCT 127 to Perform at 2019 Global Citizen Festival". Billboard. August 27, 2019. Retrieved August 28, 2019.
  33. ^ "Global Citizen Live".

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