The fourth annual Global Citizen Festival was packed with big-name musicians, politicians, and activists on Saturday at New York’s Central Park. The Global Citizen Festival was created by Coldplay frontman Chris Martin to help bring about awareness and change for extreme poverty across the globe.
As noted by Entertainment Weekly, Beyoncé’s performance stole the show, in terms of the musical acts at the 2015 Global Citizen Festival. Her stage setup involved her standing on giant boxes of her dancers and was easily the most elaborate setup of the festival. But to be the stand-out music performance at the Global Citizen Festival, she was required to bring her A-game.
Coldplay dished out a set that included all of their hits, as well as the debut of a new song and a one-song collaboration with Ariana Grande, introducing the up-and-coming musical star to the Global Citizen Festival. Martin would make another appearance later in the festival when he came out to help Ed Sheeran finish his solo set, also his first appearance at a Global Citizen Festival.
In a move that may remind some of his performance with Puff Daddy in 1997’s MTV Music Video Awards, Sting sang alongside Common rapping for a rendition of “Every Breath You Take.” Pearl Jam was the final musical act for this year’s Global Citizen Festival, in which they covered John Lennon’s “Imagine” and even brought out Beyoncé for a song.
Creating almost as much buzz as her musical performances, Beyoncé hugged Michelle Obama on stage at the Global Citizen Festival. The First Lady was at the festival to talk about 62 Million Girls, a global initiative aimed at educating girls all over the world. Fellow politician Joe Biden was at the Global Citizen Festival as well, as he made a passionate speech about youth having the power to make a global impact. And while he couldn’t make it to the Global Citizen Festival in person, President Barack Obama had a video taped message about human dignity.
International political figures that made an appearance at the 2015 Global Citizen Festival included Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven, Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg, and Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai.
And of course, at a festival this global — about issues so important — you’re going to see a lot of celebrity activists. Host Stephen Colbert told the Global Citizen Festival audience about his passion for girls’ education. Leonardo DiCaprio showed up at the festival to talk about climate change, while Big Bird talked about children’s education and sanitation. Other non-musical, non-politician celebrities that took the stage at this year’s Global Citizen Festival included Olivia Wilde, Kerry Washington, Bill and Melinda Gates, and Katie Holmes.
Coldplay’s Martin — who is set to be the Global Citizen Festival creative director for the next 15 years — should get working on 2016’s festival right away if he hopes to top this one.
[Image credit Theo Largo/Getty Images]