UPDATE: Ed Sheeran has been added to the Global Citizen Festival. The singer announced the news in a special message on Facebook.
Global Citizen, the international anti-poverty organization that has pledged to eradicate extreme global poverty by 2030, announced that Coldplay frontman Chris Martin will produce and curate the annual Global Citizen Festival until 2030.
"It really is the pivotal year for the movement," said Global Citizen co-founder Hugh Evans at a press event last Friday. The event included Martin, United Nations Special Advisor of the Secretary General on Post-2015 Development Planning Amina J. Mohammed and screenwriter Richard Curtis (Bridget Jones's Diary, Four Weddings and a Funeral), who will be serving as this year’s creative director.
The humanitarian group announced Global Citizen 2015, the organization’s 15-year campaign to work closely with the United Nations to implement their 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Those goals will be agreed upon this September when the U.N. meets in New York.
Evans announced several upcoming events for Global Citizen 2015, including April’s Global Citizen Earth Day in Washington D.C., Global Citizen’s G7 Summit event in Germany on June 7th and the fourth annual Global Citizen Festival to take place in Central Park on September 26th. The lineup for the festival, which will be curated by Martin, will be announced in June.
"I’m Chris, I’m from the band Coldplay, some of you probably have slagged us off in your magazines," Martin joked to a roomful of journalists. "I always felt that, as a musician, we show up for one day for a cause and we really believe in what we’re talking about, but then the next day we have our own concerns. I want to try to have a more long-term relationship between artists and people who are really trying to affect change in the world."
Martin explained his decision to join Evans' organization was due to Global Citizen’s general attitude of inclusion towards all nonprofits and organizations all over the world. "We’re all on the same planet," said Martin."There really are no borders. It’s exactly like what John Lennon said."
When asked if his decision to become involved with Global Citizen might be seen as his "Bono move," Martin was quick to reply. "Everything I do is a Bono move," he joked. "I’m not going to start wearing shades though."
"We’ve seen the power of pop and policy coming together over the last few years," Evans said of the changes in legislation and policy brought about after the organization was started. (Evans points to Malawi President Joyce Banda adding 17,000 community health workers to fight child mortality and the U.S. Congressional passage of the Water for the World Act as two major accomplishments.) Evans, who co-founded Global Citizen in 2008 and serves as the organization’s C.E.O, describes Martin’s 15-year pledge to Global Citizen as an "amazingly bold and audacious commitment to take on."
Speaking to Rolling Stone after the event, Martin reflected on his band’s last year, which saw the group’s relatively low-profile release of new album Ghost Stories and did not include any major accompanying tour. "It was very healthy for us as a group of friends to not spend two years touring every time," Martin says. "There’s now a great hunger in the band to go out on the road. As for the group's upcoming album A Head Full of Dreams, Martin says that the band is "working with some really amazing people," but declined to give specific names. "We’re in the studio a lot, and a lot of things are coming through. It’s a lovely time to be in the band."
The festival, started in 2012, has featured numerous past performers, including Neil Young and Crazy Horse, Foo Fighters, the Black Keys, Sting, Jay Z and John Legend. Martin, who will be using his music industry contacts to help curate and book the Global Citizen Festival each year, talked excitedly about his long-term relationship with the organization and expanding its already impressive roster: "If you really want to get on board with something," he said, "you have to keep talking about it."