A litany of stars from across the pop world came together in Birmingham tonight (March 29) for ITV’s Concert for Ukraine, which smashed its fundraising goal.
Snow Patrol opened the live two-hour telethon at Resorts World Arena with their 2003 classic ‘Run’, before the capacity crowd were treated to performances by the likes of Paloma Faith, Gregory Porter, Emeli Sandé, Camilla Cabello, Manic Street Preachers and Nile Rodgers & Chic. Billie Eilish and Finneas also played, via video link. In a special moment, Jamala, who won the Eurovision Song Contest for Ukraine in 2016, performed a hugely emotive version of her winning song, ‘1944’, while clutching her homeland’s flag. You can watch it below.
Shortly before the close of the show, hosts Roman Kemp, Emma Bunton and Marvin Humes announced that between advertising revenue, ticket sales and donations from viewers at home, the event raised £11.3m by 10pm, far surpassing the £3m target that organisers had set themselves. It brings the total raised by the Disasters Emergency Committee’s Humanitarian Fund since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine to £257.3 million.
The focus of the event was on “[sending] messages of solidarity and hope to the people of Ukraine”, according to Kemp, and accordingly, a number of the performances sought to strike a positive tone, including Sandé’s recent single ‘Brighter Days’ and a barnstorming rendition of ‘We Are Family’ from Rodgers to close the show. Elsewhere, Ed Sheeran emerged as a special guest during Cabello’s turn for a first-ever live airing of their duet, ‘Bam Bam’.
Away from the music, veteran journalist Sir Trevor McDonald took to the stage to pay tribute to those in his profession who have been reporting on the invasion since it began on February 24. Elsewhere, actors Tamsin Greig and Eddie Marsan emotionally relayed accounts from refugees of their experiences over the past few weeks, over a virtuoso violin performance by Nicola Benedetti.
A young couple from Kyiv who fled the war, Inna Lytovka and her partner, Valentyna, took to the stage as special guests to shine a first-hand light on refugees’ plight. They were among a number of Ukrainians to recently arrive in the UK who were in attendance in Birmingham.