Fans will have to earn entry to Global Festival 2012 on Sept. 29 in New York City's Central Park by taking action against extreme poverty around the world through a website and app designed to get people moving before a big event, not after.
"The scale of things that they're trying do just felt really cool, and we're trying to get the ball rolling," said Patrick Carney, The Black Keys' drummer. "Especially with everything that's been going on for the last three years, I suppose, after the stock market crashed. There's attention on the amount of people living below the poverty line and the disparity between the rich and the poor and everything that's going on now ... . It just felt like the right time to do something."
Organizer Hugh Evans of Global Poverty Project calls the concert a "crescendo" to an ambitious anti-poverty effort that coincides with the United Nations meeting in New York.
Fans can attend through a special lottery of 54,000 tickets. They earn their way in with points awarded for charitable acts performed through the Global Citizen website, which launched Tuesday. Points can be earned by simple acts like posting information on social media, donating money to charity or signing a petition, among other simple activities.
Evans hopes the chance to see some of rock's biggest acts will spur fans to take 100,000 actions by September. The overall goal is to raise $500 million in practical solutions by leveraging commitments from the world's leaders while they're in New York.
Evans said a difference can be made for children trapped in extreme poverty with a polio vaccine that costs just 30 cents. A Tuesday news release announcing the project says there are an estimated 1.3 billion people living on the equivalent of less than $1.50 a day.
"I think what's exciting is all the world leaders are going to be in town that week for the United Nations meeting," Evans said in a phone interview. "And this concert and the associated campaign will give us the opportunity to ask these world leaders to make practical and tangible monetary commitments to the world's poor and to the achievement of the UN's Millenium Development Goals."
Produced by Goldenvoice/AEG, the concert has partnered with a number of charities and is supported by Sumner M. Redstone and the Pratt Foundation.
The musical acts, which include Band of Horses and K'Naan, also have donated their time.
The Keys have a charity they founded in their hometown of Akron, Ohio, to help the mentally handicapped. And Carney and guitarist Dan Auerbach donated a few dollars from each concert ticket on this year's tour to a variety of charitoies as well. But the chance to affect change on such a large scale drew them to the Global Festival.
"Dan and I try not to be too political about things," Carney said. "... This is not a political thing. This is a humanitarian cause."