The Global Citizens Festival Experience

By Stephanie Malangone

Even better than a free Rihanna, Kendrick Lamar, and Metallica concert? Knowing that just by attending, you’ve made a difference in your global community. The Global Citizens Festival is a unique music festival because it is a strictly free-ticketed event. You cannot buy tickets to this concert, no matter how much you would pay. The only way in is to win, and the only way to win is to do good in your community.

In order to enter the drawing for tickets, you need to make an account on globalcitizens.com and earn 26 points. To earn points, you need to complete tasks in the community. These tasks include signing petitions for various causes including clean water, sanitation, education for women in developing countries, etc., tweeting at presidents of other nations who need to make a change, and making phone calls to congressmen to convince them to make legislation helpful to the causes. Each act is worth 2-5 points, and once those 26 points are earned, you can enter the drawing for tickets to the festival.

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The previously mentioned artists were not the only performers at the Global Citizens Festival, either. Also appearing were Demi Lovato, Usher, Ellie Goulding, Chris Martin of Coldplay, Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam, and more. Even better, there were several celebrity hosts making statements about the causes and introducing performers, including Neil Patrick Harris, Hugh Jackman, Chelsea Handler, Bill Nye, Seth Myers and Salma Hayek.

The most important part of the festival, though, was the refugees in attendance. Between each act, refugees and survivors of great global violence would come out and tell their stories. One story in particular was about a female refugee from Syria who was on a boat to America when the motor broke, and her group of women was stuck in the middle of the ocean. In Syria, it is uncommon for women to know how to swim, because they are not educated the same as men. However, this woman’s father had taught her and her sisters to swim, but they did not want to leave the rest of the women abandoned, so the two women swam, pushing the boat for two hours until reaching the shore.  It was powerful and emotional to hear, and to know that we were a part of an amazing effort to better the world? Well the concert was just a bonus.

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