Berlin Live 8 concert 'hampered by bureaucracy'

24th June 2005, Comments 0 comments

24 June 2005, BERLIN - Berlin organisers of Bob Geldof's Live 8 concert said plans for the July 2 event in the German capital are being hampered by federal bureaucracy and by a lack of interest from German performers.

24 June 2005

BERLIN - Berlin organisers of Bob Geldof's Live 8 concert said plans for the July 2 event in the German capital are being hampered by federal bureaucracy and by a lack of interest from German performers.

*quote1*The Berlin concert, one of eight concerts worldwide to boost awareness about poverty in Africa, has been plagued by last-minute pullouts by performers and by difficulty in finding a venue.

The gigs in Berlin and other major cities on July 2 have been organised by rock star activist Bob Geldof to pressure leaders from the G8 world powers to lift Africa out of poverty at their July 6 to July 8 summit.

Unlike in Britain, where Live 8 has received massive publicity, it has been barely mentioned by German media. And Berlin city officials say site requests were submitted only three weeks ago, long after other rival events had already booked venues.

Live 8 organisers say they are victims of apathy and indifference.

"A combination of greed, ignorance and Teutonic bureaucracy is thwarting our plans," said Marek Lieberberg, organiser of the Berlin Live 8 concert.

He criticised the Bundestag parliament for failing to make the vast grassy plot in front of the historic building available for the concert, as had been hoped.

But Bundestag president Wolfgang Thierse responded, "At no point have the concert organisers approached us with a request. And at any rate, it is a matter for Berlin municipal authorities to decide, not the federal government."

On the local level, Berlin City Senate spokesman Michael Donnermeyer said, "I don't understand the criticism. We have been intensely involved in moving heaven and earth to see that this concert takes place in the Tiergarten west of the Bundestag.

"The problem," he added, "is that the organisers came to us only three weeks ago and their plans are still very vague."

Lieberberg also accused corporate Germany of "not lifting a finger" to help put on the concert.

Performers have been slow to sign on, with the most prominent German rock singer, Herbert Groenemeyer initially begging off and then only this week agreeing to appear.

Otherwise, the Berlin Live 8 lineup mostly includes veterans from yesteryear. The topliners are Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys, the 1980s Norwegian pop group A-Ha and Chris De Burgh.

Similar problems in Italy prompted Sir Bob to issue an appeal for Italian stars to turn out for the huge free concert in the Circus Maximus - the ancient Roman chariot race track.

Geldof said any pop act should leap at the chance to play Live 8 as it would be an historical event.

His appeal came after Vasco Rossi, possibly Italy's most popular rock singer, pulled out of the concert where he had been due to top the bill, citing "scheduling conflicts".

As well as Berlin and Rome, Live 8 will be held in London, Paris, Philadelphia, Tokyo, Toronto and Johannesburg.

The show reportedly will open in London with U2 and Paul McCartney performing together.

DPA

Subject: German news

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