By: Gabrielle Becker, Contributing Writer (‘25)

On the afternoon of September 25, sixty thousand people from all over the world gathered in Central Park, New York City. The Great Lawn was filled with activists, families, celebrities, and government officials. All sixty thousand of those people got their tickets to the Global Citizen Festival for free.  

One of the 60 thousand attendees was Indian Hills High School senior Colleen O’Dell. In an interview she stated, “I chose to go to the festival because I heard that Shawn Mendes was going to be performing, and he is my favorite artist. I didn’t have plans, so I decided to check it out.” Tickets can not be bought, but they are won through a raffle, by signing petitions, calling congress members, and tweeting for social justice through the Global Citizen app. This large festival is organized by the Global Poverty Project, with funding from big companies such as Cisco, Forbes, Google, Verizon, Delta, and Hilton Hotels Worldwide.

 During the festival, world issues such as women’s rights, world hunger, the Covid-19 crisis, global poverty, as well as climate change were addressed through videos, speeches, and songs. The true message the festival tried to spread is that we the people can make a difference in the world. The festival had many top artists performing such as Shawn Mendes, Camilla Cabello, Lizzo, Jennifer Lopez, Billie Eilish, and Coldplay. Not only did these artists sing their hearts out, but they inspired people through their words. Many of the songs performed connected with people’s hearts, and this festival overall made people feel connected to the world again.

 Prince Harry and Megan Markle even made a last-minute appearance at the festival, both making impactful speeches on vaccine equity and how all people deserve the right to keep themselves protected from the deadly Covid-19 virus. Some of the funds raised from the event were allocated to planting trees all over the world, including one of the biggest parks in the world, Central Park, where the festival took place. Most importantly, attendees became more educated on the many issues going on in the world today. Popular music artist, Alessia Carra, performed her popular song called “Scars to Your Beautiful” at the beginning of the festival. This song truly stuck with many of the attendees because it depicted how everyone has insecurities, but there are people who see the beauty in others despite any scars or insecurities one may have. 

The event was very safe because all people attending had to show proof of vaccination and identification during the entrance process of the festival. Not only did this wonderful event take place in New York City, but it took place in California, Sydney, Mumbai, Rio de Janeiro, and London.Senior Colleen Odell also stated, “ Since I was given the tickets for free. COVID-19 Precautions were very strict online, but very loose in person. Nobody wore masks unfortunately, but they made sure that  everyone there was vaccinated by requiring proof of vaccination at security.” 

It can be emphasized that the Global Citizen Festival was a huge global event making many news headlines around the world promoting awareness to saving the planet. We the citizens of the world have to stand up and fight for what is right rather than sitting back causing the many issues to continue.