By J. Freedom du Lac
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, February 15, 2007
Al Gore's next gig: concert promoter.
Using popular music to bring attention to his pet issue of global climate change, the former vice president is planning a single-day series of concerts modeled after Live 8.
Gore is scheduled to announce the concerts today in Los Angeles. He's expected to be joined there by rock stars Jon Bon Jovi and Sting, rap musician Pharrell Williams and media executive Kevin Wall, who served as worldwide executive producer for Live 8, the 2005 concerts that drew attention to African debt relief.
The Gore-promoted event will be held July 7, according to published reports, with seven major concerts on seven continents. Producers are said to be considering Washington as the North American host city, but one likely venue -- the Mall -- might be unavailable to them, a National Park Service spokesman said yesterday.
A Gore representative declined to comment, as did Yusef Robb, a spokesman for the concerts.
Gore's profile has been rising in the entertainment industry lately: He was a presenter at Sunday's Grammy Awards, and "An Inconvenient Truth," his movie about global warming, is nominated for Best Documentary Feature at the upcoming Academy Awards.
Details of the July 7 event have been guarded as closely as a National Intelligence Estimate. The event's official name has not yet been announced (it will be either "Live Earth" or "Save Ourselves," according to Advertising Age), and no performers or host cities have been publicly confirmed. A bare-bones Web site, http://saveourselves.com, offered little beyond the 7/7/07 date and a logo of dots and dashes -- Morse code for "SOS."
The Financial Times, which reported the event last week, listed London; Shanghai; Rio de Janeiro; Cape Town, South Africa; Kyoto, Japan; and Washington among the host cities.
But if Gore is hoping to make musical noise about global warming here, the former Democratic presidential nominee might have to consider staging his concert in a stadium. National Park Service spokesman Bill Line said the Mall is already filling up on July 7, with applications under review for two events -- including the Smithsonian Folklife Festival.
"The organizations are estimating 200,000 people between them," Line said. "Given the large number of participants expected, it would be difficult if not impossible to reasonably accommodate any additional large-scale events."
Gore's group, Live Earth LLC, has yet to apply for a use permit, Line said.
Would the National Park Service give special treatment to a former vice president and allow him to jump the queue?
"We treat everyone the same," Line said. "We process applications for events on the National Mall in the order in which they were received."