by GERALDINE WIJESUNDERA
Ardent feelings of peace, love, and unity abounded in Manchester, England on Sunday, when Ariana Grande led a star-studded benefit concert called One Love Manchester with appearances by hit-makers Justin Bieber, Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus, Coldplay, Liam Gallagher, Marcus Mumford, Pharrell Williams and others to raise money for victims of the terrorist attack on her concert last month. The show sold out within minutes. This concert also took place less than 24 hours after a second terrorist attack hit London; yet despite the disturbing news, the turnout was absolutely incredible.
The concert continued to be held to prove that no matter what, fear and hate will not conquer people’s lives. It comes to show the strength of the people, and further elucidates their willingness to move forward and continue living their lives, with more than fifty thousand people attending the show to give their love and support.
The show, which took place at the Old Trafford Cricket Ground and included a section for attendees of the original concert, sold out in under six minutes. The benefit concert generated $2.6 million in donations over a three-hour period for a special fund to help the victims and families of the deceased of the terrorist attack from Ariana’s May 22nd show. People were encouraged to watch a live-stream of the concert at home and donate as much as they can to they worthy cause. The concert was watched by an average of 10.9 million viewers, peaking at 14.5 million as the gig drew to a close – making it the most watched TV show of the year so far. Twitter hashtags like #WeStandTogether and #OneLoveManchester were used to spread images and thoughts of celebrities and people watching all around the world.
People of all different ages, ethnicities, and backgrounds all stood together as one that day. Music is universal and is something that binds people together, and this concert proved just that. Inside the venue, it was a scene of resilience. Tens of thousands of young children, teenagers, and parents gathered on the cricket field and waved their hands, flashed their iPhones, and sang along to the songs from their favorite artists. “I think that all the love and unity you’re displaying is the medicine the world needs right now,” said Ariana. In this day and age of social media, a simple concert was able to reach a large global audience, which, in turn, helped spread the word that love conquers all and that love will always win.