NEW YORK, UNITED STATES: Pop superstar Rihanna and heavy metal greats Metallica and will headline the latest Global Citizen Festival, which will mobilise fans to fight the world’s most extreme poverty.
The festival, to take place on September 24 in New York’s Central Park, “sells” tickets based on actions taken such as social media postings and letters to promote development goals.
The fifth edition of the festival will feature Metallica in one of only a handful of 2016 shows by the pioneering thrash metal band, although expectations are building that the group will release a new album within the year.
Rihanna, one of the most successful contemporary pop singers, will play the Global Citizen Festival weeks after she is scheduled to complete her “Anti” global tour.
Other headliners will include pop sensation Selena Gomez as well as Major Lazer, the crowd-pleasing electronic outfit whose “Lean On” is the most streamed song ever on Spotify.
Rounding off the headliners will be Kendrick Lamar, the introspective and socially conscious rapper whose 2015 “To Pimp a Butterfly” has quickly entered the hip-hop canon.
Guest performers will include R&B star Usher and Yusuf Islam, the folk rocker formerly known as Cat Stevens.
“While much of the world’s great cities are becoming no-go areas and ruins besieged by fear and divisive conflicts, it’s great to see a global counter-movement for peace through a rebalancing of wealth beyond politics and towards human equality,” Yusuf said in a statement.
Coldplay vocalist Chris Martin, who has taken on a supervisory role in the festival, will also play, along with Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder and English pop singer Ellie Goulding.
Bringing a more global touch to the lineup, the festival will also feature Yandel, the popular Puerto Rican reggaeton singer, and hosts will include Bollywood starlet Priyanka Chopra and Mexican-born Hollywood star Salma Hayek.
Focus on education
Taking place each year around the time of the UN General Assembly, when hundreds of world leaders converge on New York, the Global Citizen Festival seeks to put public pressure on governments over development assistance.
The latest festival will put a focus on encouraging equal education for girls and refugee children – with literacy considered a key prerequisite in the fight against poverty.
“I am particularly proud to be involved this year as the focus is on education. As an artist with many young fans, I believe everyone has the right to an education,” Gomez said in a statement.
Some 58 million adolescents around the world are not in school, according to the United Nations Children’s Fund.
This year, the festival takes on a new level of urgency with the migrant crisis as hundreds of thousands of people flee Syria and other war-ravaged countries.
Among actions to earn points toward tickets, Twitter users can voice support for a movement by Nadia Murad, a woman from the Yazidi minority in Iraq who endured three months of sexual slavery by the Islamic State group.
Murad is leading a bid to press the International Criminal Court to identify perpetrators and try them on genocide charges.
The concert will be broadcast in the United States on MSNBC and streamed internationally on YouTube and iHeartRadio.
Last year’s festival brought surprise appearances by US First Lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Hollywood megastar Leonardo DiCaprio.