This weekend will bring the start of a stellar roster of live concerts and benefits organized by various organizations to raise money for Hurricane Katrina relief efforts.
Among the major names and events are:
•Shelter from the Storm: A Concert for the Gulf Coast – to air from Los Angeles and New York over all the major networks and on more than two dozen cable channels in over 95 countries at 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT – will feature performances by Mariah Carey, Sheryl Crow, Dixie Chicks, Alicia Keys, Randy Newman, Paul Simon and Neil Young, among others.
Celebrity participants include Ellen DeGeneres, Jennifer Aniston, Cameron Diaz, Jack Nicholson, Chris Rock, Ray Romano and Sela Ward.
Kanye West, who sharply criticized President Bush on NBC’s Hurricane Katrina concert last week, will perform – but not speak – on the show, proceeds from which will be evenly split between the Red Cross and Salvation Army.
•BET’s S.O.S. (Saving OurSelves) relief telethon will air Friday night at 7:30 p.m. ET, with the Urban League and the Red Cross as cosponsors. Cohosts Queen Latifah and comedian Steve Harvey will introduce performances by Wynton Marsalis, Master P, David Banner and Juvenile, along with Jamie Foxx, Russell and Kimora Lee Simmons, Morgan Freeman and Alicia Keys, among others.
There will also be special messages from Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.).
•MTV’s ReAct Now: Music & Relief Concert, with Ludacris, Green Day, Usher, Alicia Keys, Rob Thomas, the Dave Matthews Band, John Mellencamp, Kelly Clarkson and other artists will air Saturday night at 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT.
Also on the bill: Common, Sheryl Crow, John Mayer, Lynyrd Skynyrd, the Rolling Stones, Neil Young, Kanye West and Paul McCartney. The show will air on MTV, VH1 and CMT.
•Bo Bice, who has been absent from the “American Idols Live Tour” since having emergency intestinal surgery on Aug. 18, will return for the final night, a benefit show for the victims of Katrina, to be held Sunday at the Oncenter in Syracuse, N.Y. Bice will also unveil a song he wrote after the hurricane struck, titled “We Can’t Change This World.”
•Jazz at Lincoln Center’s “Higher Ground Hurricane Relief Benefit Concert,” starring Wynton Marsalis, Terence Blanchard, Elvis Costello, Diana Krall, Abbey Lincoln, Bette Midler, James Taylor, McCoy Tyner, Cassandra Wilson and many others will take place at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Frederick P. Rose Hall in New York City on Saturday, Sept. 17.
•In Philadelphia on Saturday, country singer Alan Jackson’s concert at the Tweeter Center will contribute $1 from each ticket sold to hurricane relief. If the event sells out its 25,000 tickets, the Tweeter will donate $75,000.
As of Friday morning, the total in donations from private American citizens was $587 million. More is still needed.