It brings much despair to know that there are people in the world who see violence, anger, destruction and fear as their only methods of communication and action. We, as individuals and as a society, often feel helpless in finding ways to combat the horror that seems to only be growing in our world.
On Sunday 4 June 2017, musicians from around the world came together to find a way of promoting love, celebrating peace and remembering lives lost in a tribute concert dedicated to the victims of the recent terror attack at Manchester Arena. The benefit concert was coordinated by Ariana Grande and her team in response to the terror attack directed at the audience of her recent concert in Manchester. The American singer originally suspended her world tour in the wake of the terror attack but dedicated her time, and that of her team, to creating a benefit concert quite extraordinary in its programming, size and speedy delivery.
Supported by Manchester City Council and the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), the benefit was streamed live across the world with something like 22 million people tuning into the live broadcast at one point or another during the show which ran for nearly 3 and a half hours. Estimates suggest that approximately 50,000 people attended in person.
Grande was supported by a host of musicians including Marcus Mumford of Mumford and Sons, Take That, Robbie Williams, Pharrel Williams, Coldplay, Liam Gallagher representing Oasis, Niall Horan, Imogen Heap, Miley Cyrus, Little Mix, Black Eyed Peas, Mac Miller, Katy Perry and Justin Bieber.
Highlights of the concert were numerous. For this writer, the highlights came at the start and end of the concert. Marcus Mumford began with a truly beautiful and poignant performance of Mumford and Sons’ ‘Timshel’ while Grande closed the show with an emotional (if somewhat over-ornamented) rendition of ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’.
“But you are not alone in this
And you are not alone in this
As brothers we will stand and we’ll hold your hand
Hold your hand.”
From ‘Timshel’ by Mumford and Sons
The Manchester benefit concert was a show of solidarity for the victims and families of the terror attack in Manchester – but also for all those whose lives are affected by violence, famine, oppression, disease and despair.
The concert can be viewed in full on YouTube, One Love Manchester (Live).