Industry Steps Up For Victims

The concert industry responded quickly to the Southeast Asian tsunami tragedy, with countless events from Hong Kong to New York City announced. Many were thrown together in less than a week, and the list of benefit concerts ranged from regional acoustic efforts to star-studded blowouts.

Willie Nelson was one of the first big names to announce plans for a benefit. He headlined the Tsunami Relief Austin to South Asia concert in Texas January 9th, benefiting the Red Cross, UNICEF and Doctors Without Borders. Dixie Chicks singer Natalie Maines was a surprise guest at the event, which also featured Patty Griffin, Alejandro Escovedo, Joe Ely and more.

Stevie Wonder, Madonna, Norah Jones, Diana Ross, Brian Wilson, Eric Clapton, Usher, Kenny Chesney, India.Arie, Mary J. Blige, Sheryl Crow, Gloria Estefan, Lenny Kravitz, Tom Jones, John Mayer, Sarah McLachlan, Maroon5, and Roger Waters signed on for NBC Universal’s tsunami benefit, which was scheduled to air January 15th. The star-studded event was also to feature an array of film stars including Halle Berry, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Kevin Spacey.

Kravitz performed unplugged and did a Q&A January 11th at the Hard Rock Café Dallas, with all proceeds going to UNICEF for tsunami relief.

Hilary Duff said she would donate a portion of all ticket sales from her current sold-out tour to the Kids With A Cause organization, and Celine Dion announced that all proceeds from her Mother’s Day performance would go to UNICEF. Dion said she expects to raise a minimum of $1 million.

In Los Angeles, saxophonist Dave Koz played a free show for the American Red Cross and Linkin Park teamed with the charity to form Music For Relief, with a benefit scheduled for January 17th reportedly starring Beck, Tenacious D, Dave Grohl, Eddie Vedder, Josh Homme, and Will Ferrell.

Gloria Estefan said she plans to raise $100,000 at an exclusive February 5th concert at Donald Trump’s Mar-A-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Fla. And organizers of the Marty Raybon Indian Mound Bluegrass Festival in Okeechobee, Fla., announced they would add another day to the normally three-day event to raise more funds for relief efforts.

Avril Lavigne, Sum 41, Sarah McLachlan, Bruce Cockburn, and Barenaked Ladies are on board for charity concerts in their native Canada this month.

Paul McCartney did not announce plans to perform, preferring the direct route: He and wife Heather donated £1 million (US$1.9 million) to a U.K. aid group.

Ricky Martin traveled to Thailand and met with officials and victims to determine how his People For Children foundation, which fights child trafficking, could help.

Asian stars including Andy Lau and tsunami survivor Jet Li packed the Hong Kong Football Stadium in China for a seven-hour benefit that raised more than HK$30 million (US$3.8 million), and organizers of the MTV Asia Awards announced they would “reposition” the event as MTV Asia Aid to support recovery efforts.

In India, percussion virtuoso Zakir Hussain played with more than a dozen fellow musicians at an all-night concert January 5th, and a slew of Bollywood performers headed into the studio the following week to record a fund-raising single.

See International News for more details.