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'I fear new famine,' Live Aid relief organiser Bob Geldof tells Euronews

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By Yorgos Mitropoulos
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Bob Geldof at the Sani music festival
Bob Geldof at the Sani music festival   -   Copyright  Euronews

The Sani music festival in northern Greece is celebrating its 30th anniversary this month. In the balmy night air, big crowds turned out to hear Irish rock star Bob Geldof and his band the Bobkatz strum through some Boomtown Rats classic hits.

Geldof is famous for his fundraising activities fighting famine, and he used his appearance to warn about the impact of the war in Ukraine on world food supplies.

"Putin is using food as a weapon," he told Euronews. "Millions of people, people who have never heard of Ukraine, people who have never heard of Putin, will die because of what he is doing." 

"He says it’s a military operation. Then what’s grain got to do with this? It is disgusting. It’s disgraceful, and he is despicable."

'Everything is new, and everyone has an opinion'

It was 37 years ago that Geldof organised the Live Aid charity concert to raise money to fight famine -- and today, he believes new ways need to be found to mobilise worldwide opinion.

"Social media will be the mechanism whereby something could happen," he said. "But for that to work, it's too diffuse."

"So one way of thinking about this is the diffusion of the medium has meant the dilution of the message." 

"That’s the problem. Everyone has it. Everyone has access. Everyone has an opinion, and you just get noise. Everything is new. Everything is determined by that thing we have in our pocket (mobile phone). Everything. And we still haven’t quite learned what it means," Geldof explained.

For over 30 years, dozens of concerts have been held on the hill of Sani in Halkidiki, with the ruins of its 14th-century tower as a background. 

This year the festival has widened its horizons beyond jazz: it opened with concerts by Chucho Valdés and Paquito D' Rivera, and the curtain will fall on 20 August with a concert by Andrea Bocelli.