Top Artists Sought For World Peace Concerts

World Peace One, a not-for-profit global peace advocacy group, has targeted some of the top acts in the world for a series of international concerts to begin May 17.

World Peace One, a not-for-profit global peace advocacy group whose mission is to bring peace to the world through a 10-year global campaign of concerts, education and government initiatives, has targeted some of the top acts in the world for a series of international concerts to begin May 17.

The event is in discussions with such marquee acts as U2, Madonna, Led Zeppelin, Aerosmith, ZZ Top, Lionel Richie, Celine Dion, INXS, Velvet Revolver, Will I. Am, Justin Timberlake, and Timbaland, says WP1 founder Doug Ivanovich.

International artists in discussion, according to Ivanovich, include Reyna Reyna, Brazilian artists Gilberto Gil, Caetano Veloso, Ivan Lins, Sergio Mendes and Linox; Jane Zhang and the Trollmates in China, Tarkan in Turkey, and Saer, Ladysmith Black Mambazo and Tamara Day for Africa.

Of course, "discussions" is one thing and artists actually taking the stage in the name of WP1 is quite another. Still, WP1 is nothing if not ambitious. "Our mission is ending all war at the end of our 10-year period," Ivanovich tells Billboard. "Our intent is to foster and generate the largest peoples' movement, grassroots as well as institutional, in the history of the world."

Ivanovich -- who has a background in business development, finance, executive management, communications, event production and broadcasting -- has already enlisted an impressive array of governments and has the endorsement of Claes Nobel, senior member of the Nobel Peace Prize family.

The initiative will begin with a series of concerts May 17 in Beijing; Istanbul, Turkey; London; Johannesburg; and Miami, as well as the United Arab Emirates, Portugal, Brazil, Puerto Rico, Colombia, India and possibly other locations.

The WP1 team includes Artie Kornfeld, one of the original founder/producers of Woodstock, and Paul Flattery, a producer/director for Live Earth, as well as other such experienced event producers as Tommy Trbovich, Michael Blum and co-executive producer Lawrence Freiberg, formerly of Concerts West.

As for getting the music industry on board, Ivanovich says, "We are in discussions with some very high-level agents and promoters, and we are planning now to consolidate these relationships in various parts of the world. We are also in serious discussions with Live Nation and other promoters, and we're about to consummate our relationships, so I won't mention their names until we do." Ivanovich did cite the involvement of well-known Latin promoter Arie Kaduri of NYK Concerts.

Ivanovich says WP1 is nailing down the venues and offering artists choices of where they want to perform. "We are going to have at least seven major international venues where we can house anywhere from 65,000 people up to several hundred thousand," he says. "As we lock down these venues -- we'll have some of them and probably all of them in the next 20-30 days -- we're forging these relationships with agencies in Europe, Asia and the United States."

Funding comes from private sources, donations, contributions and corporate sponsors, Ivanovich says. "The challenge for a project like this, or any project that supports a nonprofit global cause and mission of this kind, is that we want to make sure that enough money goes to the cause," he says. "If we were interested in giving the money away to promoters, we would have all the money in the world already. But we're not interested in giving away 75% of the money. We would like the nonprofit to receive at least 50%-75% of the money."

WP1 has about 100 people around the world working on this project, and having a humanitarian of such international stature as Nobel on the team is clearly an ace in the hole. "Working towards peace is the family legacy," Nobel says. "Our intention is to transform the world, this crazy society that we have, to one that is better, safer and saner. We can help do this through World Peace One. We can send a signal of hope and good will, and that change can take place. That is our mission."