Elton John will stage a July 4 concert in Philadelphia in a bid to raise $2 million for HIV/AIDS awareness and research.

Elton John will stage a July 4 concert in Philadelphia in a bid to raise $2 million for HIV/AIDS awareness and research. The Philadelphia Freedom Concert is expected to draw more than 1.5 million people to the city's Museum of Art and will be broadcast regionally by WPVI-TV.

Pianist Peter Nero, artistic director/conductor of the Philly Pops, will serve as music director, with celebrity guests and additional performers to be announced next month.

"Philadelphia has long been one of my favorite cities because it has always had an intrinsic spirit of freedom and compassion," John said in making the announcement yesterday (Feb. 9).

"With an estimated 20,000 people in Philadelphia alone living with HIV, and the spread of the disease continuing to rise among women, children, and the African American and Latino communities, it is up to all of us to do whatever we can to confront this epidemic and halt its progress," Philadelphia mayor John F. Street added.

Funds will be raised via concert concessions and corporate sponsorships (with Philadelphia institution Geno's Steaks and U.S. Airways already signed on). A gala fundraising ball will be held after the show at a venue yet to be announced.

Tickets to that event are priced from $500 to $2,500 and are available online through Phillyfreedom.net or 800-917-4389.
Proceeds from the concert and the fundraiser will be split between the Elton John AIDS Foundation and the Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld Fund.

"Having recently spent time in South Africa, I saw first hand how the programs of the Elton John AIDS Foundation are really assisting in the fight against HIV/AIDS," John said. "It will be a long fight, and one that must be met with strength and compassion, but we can all make a difference. I met with vulnerable and orphaned children who have been left destitute. There are three quarters of a million such children in South Africa alone and 11 million on the continent."