5 Takeaways from the Global Citizen Festival in Hamburg ahead of G20 Summit

by Theresa Becker, Assistant Account Executive Digital and Charlotte Benninghoven, Account Executive Digital
  • Work
19. Juli 2017
Global Citizen Festival in Hamburg 2017

The Global Citizen Festival Hamburg took place on Thursday, July 6th, ahead of the 12th semi-annual G20 summit. More than 12,000 global citizens, world & business leaders, non-profit organizations, and socially conscious artists (such as Coldplay, Ellie Goulding, and Pharell Williams) came together to rally historic support for the world's poorest at this year's G20 summit in Hamburg.

Edelman.ergo supported Global Citizen via local press handling and outreach. We had the pleasure of attending the festival and assisting media on-site. In addition, Edelman.ergo Digital covered all performances and speeches live on Edelman.ergo's Instagram account.

Here are five highlights from our night at the Global Citizen Festival:

1. 'Instagram Stories' is perhaps the best social channel for live events

Instagram Stories lifts its functionality from Snapchat's story feature. Photos and videos remain in your "story" for 24 hours, which made it a perfect tool to share this year's Global Citizen Festival. By using a mix of photos, boomerang videos and short video clips, we shared exclusive impressions of the live shows and "behind the scenes" happenings for all of those who couldn't attend the event. In addition, Instagram Stories is a great way of strengthening employee branding, both inside and outside the agency, as this way of communication that is as personal and authentic as employee communication can be.

2. We are louder together

The Global Citizen Festival is not a typical concert or music festival that one can buy tickets for. You can only attend by engaging politically (e.g. signing a petition or sending an email to a representative). The idea of the Global Citizen Festival is a peaceful and creative way of raising awareness of the world's most critical problems. In six years, Global Citizen has grown into one of the largest, most visible movements of engaged activists in the world. Accordingly, the festival in Hamburg was a colorful mix of educational and political contributions, speeches, and stunning live performances of world-famous artists, which at the same time committed to social projects.

3. Goosebumps moments at the Global Citizen Festival

One of the most breathtaking moments happened during the rehearsal of Coldplay and Shakira. The concert hall was completely empty while our team were preparing the press area. As Coldplay and Shakira began rehearsing and sound check, it felt like a private concert and was absolutely impressive. Another magical moment took place during Pharrell Williams' performance. While singing his song, "Freedom" the artist brought several festival attendees (including some Edelman.ergo colleagues) on stage - the hall was overwhelmed and everyone felt a great sense of being one global community!

4. Steps in the right direction to solve the most critical problems

The most powerful moments of the evening were the political statements and commitments to meet the needs of the world's most vulnerable. Leaders, influencers, NGOs, and top activists called for the empowerment of girls and women, global health security, and universal access to both education, water and sanitation. Overall, the world leaders made concrete commitments totaling more than $700 million (USD) to affect positive change to at least 113 million lives in response to over 750,000 actions. While on the festival stage, Canada, Australia, and the EU reaffirmed three commitments towards polio eradication that totaled $151 million (USD).

5. G20 Summary: United in the right way

The sounds of shattering glass, the scenes of burning cars and barricades, the destructive fury of some protesters - these things dominated the G20 media coverage in the last couple of days. BUT, there also has been another Hamburg - a Hamburg with people from all over the world, uniting their voices. The Global Citizen Festival was just one example. Besides that, thousands of people came together for peaceful protest.

There were many creative ways of pointing to problems - from #bridgestohumanity (yoga on a famous bridge in Hamburg) and performances by artist collectives to huge, peaceful demonstrations. After the G20 summit, thousands of Hamburg´s citizens came together to restore and clean the "Schanzenviertel," one of the most-destroyed areas. In the end, it is these images and this kind of solidarity that should remain.