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Last Updated: Friday, 6 July 2007, 07:49 GMT 08:49 UK
Where on Live Earth do you start?
By Fiona Pryor
Entertainment reporter, BBC News

Harvey Goldsmith
Goldsmith says he only gets a few hours a night at the moment
He is sleeping four hours at most each night and says he is stressed out. But promoter Harvey Goldsmith is used to working under pressure.

The 61-year-old, one of the UK's most well-known music promoters, has been instrumental in organising high-profile concerts such as 1985's Live Aid and 2005's Live 8.

He is now co-coordinating eight Live Earth gigs, which will take place on Saturday in New York, London, Sydney, Rio de Janeiro, Johannesburg, Tokyo, Shanghai and Hamburg.

Slick and trouble-free

"Live Earth is an initiative to get people all over the world to focus their attention on our future and the climate," Mr Goldsmith says.

"If we don't do something about the future now, we won't have a future."

With acts such as Madonna, Lenny Kravitz and the Red Hot Chili Peppers due to perform to a worldwide audience, the pressure is on to deliver a slick and trouble-free series of shows.

Bob Geldof and Harvey Goldsmith
Goldsmith helped promote Live Aid in 1985 with Bob Geldof

So where does Mr Goldsmith start when it comes to organising such a huge global event?

"For me it's just having the right teams of people who understand what they're doing and can listen in a short space of time and get the job done," he says.

"You've got to secure the right venues, get the right permit, start to generate artists for each of the shows, think about ticket selling, decide what the message is all about, why are we doing the shows?

"Then there are 60 films that are being produced so we have got to make sure that each of them are translated into every local language," he explains.

Time zones

Despite this being a global event - with the workload multiplied by eight - time zones and language barriers have faded into the background.

Once they agree to do it they do it in the spirit that it's meant and I don't think I've ever had a problem with an artist

Harvey Goldsmith

"They don't go to bed like me," he laughs. "You start with Sydney and you end up with America. You go round the clock.

"In your mind you've got this 24-hour clock and because I've got so much experience of understanding that clock you mentally know what time it is in each country."

Asked what could go wrong, Mr Goldsmith reels off another long list.

"Satellite feeds can go down, changeovers are done in a rush, the sound breaking because someone has pulled a wire out by accident in a rush, and also sticking to timings," he says.

Surprisingly the only part of the gig he says that can be relied upon is the artists themselves.

Artist co-operation

"Once they agree to do it, they do it in the spirit that it's meant. I don't think I've ever had a problem with an artist," says Mr Goldsmith, who has worked with everybody from the Rolling Stones to Madonna.

Madonna will headline the London leg of Live Earth

"Once they agree to do it and they understand fully why they're doing it they always co-operate and they always do their very best to make it work."

With an overnight bag packed and his passport at the ready Mr Goldsmith is ready to fly to any venue if any last-minute problem arises.

But he is happier in his London office.

"It's better to be in one place that's central because as with Live 8 I'm in touch with everybody every 15 minutes," he says.

And with security measures making travel from UK airports difficult this week, he says going anywhere would be "a kiss of a death" for him.

With the clock ticking to the start of Live Earth, Mr Goldsmith is looking forward to seeking refuge and catching up on some well-earned sleep.

But he does not expect that to be until Sunday morning, once the final notes have been played in New York and Rio de Janeiro.


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