Water For Life Washout

The first of 26 Water For Life charity concerts organised by the United Nations was such a washout that estimates of the losses begin at $1 million.

Only 1,500 turned up to Copenhagen Parken Stadium Dec. 7, about 10 percent of what was originally expected, prompting Danish paper Politiken to call the gig a “flopkoncert.”

Local industry experts say the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) concert, timed for the first day of the Copenhagen climate change talks, was an expensive disaster.

“Nice thought, poor execution,” said Niels Boe Sørensen of entertainment marketing specialists Kuanhsi Consulting, which advises Danish brewing giant Tuborg on the gigs it sponsors worldwide.

His other clients include Live Nation Denmark, Coca-Cola Nordic, The Danish Royal Theatre and the local tourist board’s “Wonderful Copenhagen” marketing campaign. He was formerly head of entertainment marketing at Carlsberg International.

Sørensen said he was in talks with the organisers until he realised they wouldn’t listen or take advice. Flemming Schmidt from the local Live Nation office says his potential involvement lasted no longer than his first phone call with the organisers.

The UNEP Dance 4 Climate Change Web site says the event “wowed the crowds,” while local media are questioning how the UN can possibly sanction the same organisers running another 25 concerts.

The lineup featured Europe, Shaggy, Finnish rockers Rasmus, Youssou N’Dour and Indonesian singer-songwriter Anggun, plus a host of top Danish acts.

Austrian group My Excellence also performed the official campaign song “Come on, Seal the Deal!”

UNEP says the concert will soon be seen by TV audiences around the world, helping to spread the Seal the Deal message internationally.

It wasn’t possible to get comment from UNEP at press time.