Musical adaptation of Live Aid set to premiere on West End stage

Original event in 1985 was organised by Bob Geldof and Midge Ure to raise funds for Ethiopia famine relief

A musical adaptation of the 1985 Live Aid concert is set to premiere on the West End stage.

The original event, held at London’s Wembley Stadium and John F Kennedy Stadium in Philadelphia in the US, was organised by Bob Geldof and Midge Ure to raise funds for Ethiopia famine relief.

The musical, titled Just For One Day, will include songs from stars Paul McCartney, Elton John, David Bowie and Queen that featured during the original performance.

The stage adaptation, written by British author John O’Farrell, will premiere at The Old Vic theatre in London from January 26th until March 30th, 2024.


Speaking about the adaptation, Boomtown Rats star Geldof said: “From seeing Just For One Day throughout its development, if this musical encourages just one person to have a positive impact for the better, then it will be a job well done.

“I’m looking forward to seeing it at The Old Vic… it better not be sh*t!”

The musical, to be directed by Luke Sheppard, will also feature music from Bob Dylan, The Who, U2, The Police and The Pretenders, as well as The Cars, Status Quo, Bryan Adams and Diana Ross.

“This isn’t a tribute thing. I wouldn’t have anything to do with that. So, there isn’t a person dressed up as Freddie [Mercury] wearing a crap moustache. The songs drive the drama along,” Geldof said.

“The story is based on actual testimony from the day. It’s real people telling their story throughout this. So it’s complex theatre.”

Matthew Warchus, artistic director of The Old Vic, said: “I had the pleasure of working with Luke Sheppard on Matilda the Musical and I have always admired the witty brilliance of John O’Farrell’s writing, I am thrilled to have these two great forces uniting on The Old Vic stage alongside an excellently talented company.

“For those of us who were around in the 1980s, Saturday, July 13th, 1985 I’m sure will be one of those days that is forever etched in our memories.

“We all remember where we watched Live Aid, who we watched it with, and the pure amazement at the feat that was unfolding before our eyes.

“It’s these memories and individual stories that are the beating heart of Just For One Day, and I can’t wait for audiences to share in a moment that galvanised the globe once again.”

Geldof said when Sheppard and O’Farrell pitched the idea for the show, the pair were not the most confident.

“They came and said, ‘we know you are going to say no, but we want to do it because our dads have never stopped talking about this day. And we think it’s theatre’.”

The musical is being made with the permission of the Band Aid Charitable Trust, which will receive 10 per cent of every ticket sale.

“The money for Band Aid is good, but that’s not the point,” Geldof said.

“Will there be a kid who comes to this and leaves saying, ‘I can do something like this using digital devices, which will have the same impact’?

“If the individual understands that the answer is not blowing in the wind, that the answer is get up off your arse, then honestly, for Bob, that’s where it’s at personally for me.”

Tickets for the musical will go on sale at noon on October 6th. – PA