To kick off my birthday weekend, I got a chance to see Tiësto, The Roots, Fun., Carrie Underwood, No Doubt, Jay Z and even Beyonce come out and rock the stage in the name of ending World Poverty at the Global Citizen Festival in Central Park yesterday!
In order to procure tickets to this event, attendees must first “take action” by either watching videos, taking quizzes, signing petitions, or spreading the word via social media about serious issues affecting the world today. Everything from education to food and water to health and so much more are addressed and it really does make you think about what we can do to help make this world a better place. Once you have earned a total of 8 points, you can then enter the ticket draw for your chance to score two free tickets to the show. And really, what is cooler than that?!
I did not win the first time I entered, but I believe you have up to six chances to try your luck, and later that week I received an email telling me I’d won a pair! I was super excited because I had attended this event last year (and got to see my main man, John Mayer perform) and it really can be a great experience for such a great cause.
The day of the show, I was all set and ready to go until I found out that same morning that I had won two VIP tickets through this really cool app called YPlan (that I totally encourage you to download if you like attending fun events for cheap prices) to the show! I couldn’t believe my luck. My planets must really be in alignment or something. Once my friend and I arrived to Central Park, we were able to grab our VIP wristbands and passes and make our way to the main stage.
The performances were lively and interspersed with videos and announcements pertaining to the cause of putting an end to poverty. Alicia Keys, who performed last year as well, made an appearance to perform a touching song called “We Are Here” with singers from both Palestine and Israel. Each singer performed their top hits to get the crowd going and everyone seemed to be having a really great time.
The more popular the act, the more crowded it became. No Doubt, who haven’t appeared together as a group for years, was without a doubt one of the best acts of the night. They busted out hit after hit including “Don’t Speak”, “I’m Just a Girl”, and “It’s My Life” and Gwen Stefani has proven that despite being a 44-year-old mama of now 3 babies, she’s still as cool and rocking as ever! Sting, yes the Sting, made an appearance with her to sing a duet version of “Message in a Bottle” and this was honestly the highlight of my night.
I left before the hysteria that is Jay Z and Beyonce ensued. I was tired and hungry and just couldn’t muster the energy necessary for dealing with being elbowed by the massive crowd that would inevitably surge to the front of the barricades as Mr. and Mrs. Carter made their way to the main stage. I could hear “Empire State of Mind” echoing through Central Park as I made my way to the subway, but I had had my fill for the day and felt completely satisfied with what I had be able to witness.
Despite many of the positives of the day, my one biggest gripe was the fact that we couldn’t bring any food in, not even sealed bottled water! When you’re sitting on the grass in the hot sun for 6-plus hours, of course you’re gonna need some sustenance, but unless you brought in the approved empty water bottles to refill at the one lonely water fountain, you had no choice but to buy the $3 bottles of water they sold.
It seemed totally hypocritical, at this event especially, because before entering I saw so many people forced to either throw away perfectly good bottled water or dump water onto the grass, and one of the serious world issues that Global Citizen is trying to battle is lack of access to fresh water. From their site I read, “According to the World Health Organization, 50% of malnutrition is associated with repeated diarrhea or intestinal worm infections due to unsafe water, and inadequate sanitation and hygiene” and yet we had just thrown away so much fresh water. At a Jason Mraz concert I attended in 2012, he provided water stations so that people could refill their water bottles for free. I think that would’ve been perfect for this event as well. I suppose that we could’ve read the fine print a little better, but it just incensed me to have wasted something that so many people around the world lack sufficient access to.
Nevertheless, the show was still great and everyone from Jessica Alba and Olivia Wilde to the hunky Hugh Jackman made an appearance. World leaders from several different countries like Sweden and India also appeared on stage to pledge millions of dollars in aid to help those countries that need it most. It was so uplifting to have so many different people, including the over 60,000 people in attendance, from different lifestyles and backgrounds come together for a common purpose and vow to make a difference in the world as Global Citizens.
Global Citizen’s goal is to have world poverty ended by 2030 and it would be absolutely amazing to have this become a reality. I absolutely believe that access to the basic necessities in life should be a right and not a privilege and I hope that I live long enough to one day see extreme world poverty eradicated.
So next year, if you happen to be in New York, make a pledge and take action and maybe you too could be a part of the Global Citizen Festival!