Global Citizen Festival brings music and activism to one stage

Do good deeds and go to a concert for free. That sound easy, right?

That is the premise of this year’s Global Citizen Festival 2018, a concert that started in 2012 and was dated specifically to coincide with the time of the UN General Assembly to raise awareness, according to the event page.

“We don't ask people for money, but to take action to end extreme poverty,” the website explained.

Potential concert-goers must download an app and receive points when taking “action,” such as signing petitions and sending tweets. Earning points means that users will have the chance to enter a random lottery, where they will have a chance to win tickets.

This year’s concert was held on Saturday Sept. 29 in Central Park, with a line-up of record topping artists.

Janelle Monáe was the first singer to open the show, followed by John Legend. His song “All of Me” could be heard from the entrance to the event.

“You all sound so beautiful,” Legend said to the crowd before he left the stage.

Celebrities also took to the stage in between artists to speak about causes they were involved with. Actor Mark Ruffalo talked about reducing plastics, encouraging concert goers to start with a vision.

“Vision with action can change the world,” Ruffalo said.

Shawn Mendes followed Legend in the singer line-up, playing top hits such as “Stitches” and “Treat You Better.” The younger audience sounded like they had a great time, screaming along with all the lyrics.

Mendes urged his fans to take action as well.

“Get involved in any way you can,” he said, before launching into “Youth” with John Legend.

One point of the concert involved a rendition of “This Is Me” from the hit-movie, “The Greatest Showman.”

Actress Amber Heard also took to the stage, advocating for increased voter turnout.

“We have all had enough,” Heard said.

The crowd turned impatient as they waited for Cardi B to perform for the first time since giving birth.

“This is for all you bad b******,” Cardi B said before launching into a series of hit songs, including “Be Careful.”

The crowd was rapping along, bobbing their heads to every word.

“We need to turn down for my health, I got asthma,” Cardi B said.

Cardi B called Americans “spoiled,” saying that they should take care when looking at places to support.

“We need to research these organizations so that when we donate, they’re not taking our money,” Cardi B said.

The festival was interrupted following her performance, during intermission, when concert goers were frightened by a large noise. The noise was thought to be gunshots, but police report that the sound came from a concert goer stepping on at least one drink bottle that popped, according to an article by the New York Times.

Concert goers around the area panicked, some pushing into one another and knocking over barriers to get away from the noise. People were crying as they followed the wave of people leaving the concert and others were frantically texting or calling on their phones.

Festival goers speculated on what the noise was once they left the park, while others spoke about how they had seen people get trampled, losing their phones, articles or clothings and other items they had brought with them.


The concert twitter sent out a tweet that everyone was safe and the show continued with singer Janet Jackson.


Kimberly Nguyen is the associate managing editor for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at kimberly.nguyen@uconn.edu.