The 5 Worst Disasters in Benefit Concert History
Benefit concerts are great. The practice of bands playing to raise money for a cause can be as local as helping a fellow unsigned musician pay for their son's hospital bills to as international as world hunger. Though we may pinch our noses at the perceived sanctimoniousness of people like Bono and Bob Geldof, we have to admit that their hearts are in the right place. They're trying to help; it's just that their method involves getting a lot of personal attention.
Poster for the No Pain for Zain Benefit
The thing about charity concerts is that, well, they still involve regular people and the music industry. No matter what you do, the same leeches, incompetents, criminals and other peripheral folks that make being a rocker a trap-filled traitorfest are still going to be involved because you still have to find a venue, sell tickets, record and market the event, and whatnot.
That's where the process breaks down, and even musicians with the purest of intentions find their attempt to make the world a slightly better place has now been undeniably pissed in. More often than not, it doesn't actually wreck the endeavor, but if you're out there planning on tackling an issue with a concert, then maybe you should read about the pitfalls.
5. Scalpers and Counterfeiters Cost Sandy Relief Thousands of Dollars
This past Halloween, Hurricane Sandy became the largest Atlantic hurricane on record, in terms of diameter. When it slammed into the East Coast, it left behind $65 billion in damage, second only to Hurricane Katrina -- to put it further in perspective, that's more than four times NASA's entire budget. So James L. Dolan, John Sykes and Harvey Weinstein decided to stage 12-12-12: The Concert for Sandy Relief to try and make a dent in that bill.
The event sold out Madison Square Garden and was broadcast on radio, television and online all over the world. Stars included Bruce Springsteen, Alicia Keys, Bon Jovi, Eric Clapton, Billy Joel, The Rolling Stones, Roger Waters, Chris Martin, Michael Stipe, The Who, Kanye West, Eddie Vedder and a freakin' Nirvana reunion... sort of. It was a great night that managed to raise $30 million in ticket sales alone.
Unfortunately, scalpers lowered the amount collected by at least tens of thousands of dollars after they acquired the tickets through services like StubHub and resold them for as much as $48,000. In all fairness, StubHub, TicketMaster and the other outlets really did try their best to head off the douchebaggery. TicketMaster blocked thousands of bots' attempts to snag choice seats for resale profit, and StubHub donated $500,000 to the charity to make up for the loss.
Then again, some people just flat out made fake tickets to dupe people with, because the only thing worse than denying a charity the money it's raising by scalping is to cost even the buyer the chance to see the show.