Charity event claims a billion hits despite half hearted TV and radio coverage...

NetAid‘s organisers were claiming a billion hits on their web site to watch the three concerts in London, Geneva and New York yesterday.

Set up with the aim of erradicating “extreme poverty” and vaguely alluding to the plight of refugees in the Sudan and Kosovo, debt and the environment, the concert was billed as the most important global event since Live Aid in 1985. Despite this, TV and radio coverage in the UK passed on the big event, with BBC2 showing recorded highlights well after midnight – devoting an evening of shows instead to Monty Python – while Radio 1 did not cover the event leaving that to Radio 2. The concert was shown on VH1 – available only to some satellite and cable subscribers – and was streamed live with backstage interviews on the NetAid site.

The artists performing at Wembley – Eurythmics, David Bowie, Stereophonics – were fairly uncontroversial in their comments with only Cerys Mathews from Catatonia throwing some cold water on the event.

When asked if she thought NetAid would make a difference, she said: “Of course it won’t. It’ll make fuck all difference…but we’ve got to try.”

The concert opened with David Ginola and (David Bowie‘s wife) Iman introducing The Eurythmics, though the real highlight of the Wembley set was George Michael‘s appearance and Robbie Williams‘ closer ‘Millennium’ . There was a three way link between all the concerts with all the performers appearing on all three stages to hear an address by Nelson Mandela.

Click here for Steven Wells‘ eyewitness report from the Wembley show.