PHILADELPHIA — Leave it to global philanthropist, Hugh Evans, to bring EDM and global poverty to the same arena. On June 26 he hosted the Thank You Festival at Merriweather Post Pavilion, an electronic music festival with the dual purpose of “raving” and mobilizing millennials to join the fight against extreme global poverty.
Evans, co-founder of the Oak Tree Foundation and the Global Poverty Project, has used music as a platform in the past to bring the dialogue of global poverty to a younger and larger audience. The concept is similar to Global Citizen Festival in New York, at which charitable rock icons performed benefit concerts while inspiring and invoking the audience. The festival attracted more than 60,000 people to Central Park.
Evans adds, however, that these are not your average charity benefit concerts; instead, audience members must earn their tickets by taking some form of action, whether that be volunteering, watching an educational video, or signing a petition. The question is whether this idea will be effectively translated in new, unfamiliar territory.
The global philanthropist argues yes. Though it seems like issues such as global poverty have no place in an arena so closely associated with party drugs and selfies, Evans says the electronic music venue is the most effective place to target milennials. He believes engaging with artists that milennials listen to will resonate with them and ignite real change.
The concert will feature renowned DJs including Tiesto, Above & Beyond and Alvin Risk. There will be calls to action among the artists and attempts to inspire and encourage young fans to care about serious issues. There will also be humanitarians, politicos and a 15-foot inflatable toilet to incite conversation about poor sanitation in developing countries.
Poor sanitation has proved to be a considerable health threat to developing nations, one which affects the overall wellness of a population. In 1997 the city of Salvador, Brazil implemented a citywide sanitation project. The results were astounding: the overall prevalence of diarrhea fell by 22 percent, while in high-risk areas it fell by 43 percent.
In the Millennium Development Goals, the importance of sanitation in preventing cholera and other diarrheal diseases was recognized. They set a goal to halve the number of people without basic access to sanitation by 2015.
Evans’ Thank You Festival will serve to promote global sanitation improvement by targeting arguably the most important audience: young people. Though the objectives seem largely unrelated, reaching out to youth in the most familiar way could have the most profound effect. After all, these millennial “ravers” are the future leaders, educators and policy-makers of the world.
Sources: Science Daily, Washington Post, The Global Poverty Project
Photo: Global Citizen