You can say what you will about pop/commercial but it’s hard to deny that the One love Manchester benefit concert demonstrated the power of music to bring positivity and unity even in the darkest of times. Two weeks after the tragedy of the Ariana Grande concert and the day after even more attacks in London, this was a bold statement. It was a big ‘fuck you’ in defiance of the perpetrators of these attacks and the rest of the evil in the world. We aren’t going to be crippled by fear (even though fear is what many were rightfully feeling), we are going to come back out in numbers (50,000 including many from the original concert plus millions watching from home) and spread love when it’s at a time when it’s easier to spread hate.
Fan invited on stage to play Everglow on Piano with Coldplay’s Chris Martin
The cynical debate criticising the impact of ‘fluffy’ stuff like love over hate is never far from tragic circumstances like this when people are justifiably angry. It was difficult however, even for the cynics to take a jab at what took place. Forget the fact that it raised millions of dollars for the victims of the attack and their families, the atmosphere and memorable moments were incredibly powerful on their own.
Police officer dances with concert attendees
The One Love Manchester event demonstrated the power of musical experiences to heal us, unite us and bring moments of joy even during periods of incredible sadness. It was a demonstration of what inspires us to put on events for our audience. The tears, the goosebumps, the shared experiences with both friends and strangers. In music we are all equals united in a common interest.
Liam Gallagher & Chris Martin united on stage together despite long standing rivalry
The fact that the tragedy took place at a music concert still wasn’t enough to turn these people away from the positivity of music. Instead they bravely leaned into it and its healing powers. Is music going to completely erase the pain, fear and anger many of us feel under these circumstances? Of course not, but it shouldn’t be underestimated either. The cynics out there are right in-part… Sentiment of love over hate isn’t going to have a huge impact unless it’s spread with the same mass influence and impact these cowardly terrorist attacks are intended to have. We need to weaponise it and make it viral. Music and musical experiences are universal… While they might be one tiny step towards world peace, they can be a giant leap towards the unity, compassion and empathy we desperately need more of.
Featured image by Dave Hogan