‘Not enough acts to run Live Aid now’ says Midge Ure and Brian May


6 October 2013

Midge Ure and Brian May, left, at the festival by Tom Pilsto
Midge Ure and Brian May, left, at the festival by Tom Pilston

Live Aid would be filled with one-hit wonders and talent show winners if it were tried today, two of the performers at the charity concert have said. Midge Ure and Brian May said that the collapse of the pop industry meant that there would not be enough mainstream acts to sustain an entire day’s performance.

Ure, who co-organised Live Aid with Bob Geldof in 1985 to raise money to provide relief for the famine in Ethiopia, said that the concert was “maybe the pinnacle of live music as we know it”. He added: “If there was another Live Aid to happen there would be an awful lot of one-hit wonders and X Factor winners on it, and I would be loath to do that.”

May, whose performance at Live Aid with Queen was one of the highlights of the concert, said that he disliked the way that Simon Cowell’s programme had become the model for aspiring pop acts.

“I don’t like the X Factor culture. It tends to suck out the life of a developing artist. If you can’t develop as an artist then you’re nothing. One wonders what would have happened to Bob Dylan [in such a system]. Everything is Auto-Tuned. But every now and then you still find [real talent], and the talent will come out. There will always be rebels who find their way through. What’s hard is trying to make a living out of it, because now everyone wants their music for nothing.”

Ure recalled a recent conversation with Mark King, from Level 42. “He said maybe we were the last generation to make music for it to be a living for the rest of your life.”

Last week at the Times Cheltenham Literature Festival May discussed his collection of images of Hell created by 19th-century French artists. [For more information check out http://www.diableries.co.uk]