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"I love hymns and gospel music, but the idea of turning your music into a tool for evangelism is missing the point. Music is the language of the spirit anyway." — Bono

Let's Carry Each Other: How U2 Fans Can Support Australia Bush Fire Relief Efforts

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Sometimes it is difficult to effectively articulate to friends and acquaintances why attending a U2 show is so wildly different from other rock concert experiences. Of course, the electrifying music, the beautiful Anton Corbijn videos, the opportunity to sing your favorite lyrics at the top of your lungs while arm-in-arm with strangers from all over the world make each show experience magical. Yet, perhaps distinct from other band communities, U2 fans routinely share a deeper collective acknowledgment of that moment in every show when we each feel motivated and inspired to do something. How many times have we left a show with our brains, our bodies, our minds and our souls super-charged with excitement about what we can do to try to make someone else’s life better? And then, inevitably weeks later, the tour hangover sets in. We re-infiltrate our daily work and home lives. We resolve to channel the band into our work and relationships, and eagerly await the next tour announcement.

Our U2 community was lucky this year to have our news and social media feeds infused with Joshua Tree 2019 clips and photos as the band toured New Zealand, Australia, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, the Philippines and India. We received the gift of an impactful new song, "Ahimsa." Many fans saved up and traveled to some of these destinations, in honor of birthdays, anniversaries, new adventures and our love for the band.

Five cities in Australia—Brisbane, Melbourne, Adelaide, Sydney and Perth—welcomed U2 fans. Australians served us meals in restaurants, drove us to and from the concert venues in taxis and buses, and kept us safe and secure as we entered the stadiums. The entire time U2 fans descended upon this beautiful country for the shows, Australia was under siege from bush fires.

At the Sydney shows, fans could smell the smoke and see the haze in the air, but the rain seemed to clear it away for a bit while Bono, Edge, Adam and Larry took the stage. 

Australia is still ablaze. Fires have raged over more than 4 million hectares (10 million acres) of bush land. Ecologists from the University of Sydney estimate that half a billion animals have perished since the bush fires started in September 2019. More than 2500 firefighters have been battling the blazes. Nearly 1000 homes have been destroyed. Reportedly, 15 people have died, including volunteer firefighters. 

Part of what makes U2 so meaningful to a lot of fans is the band members’ commitment to helping others in need. We constantly see the band out in the world doing something. If U2 fans are feeling inspired and inclined, here is how we individually and as a community can do something and try to help Australia. Let’s carry each other.

The Salvation Army (Disaster Appeal): https://www.salvationarmy.org.au/donate/make-a-donation/donate-online/?appeal=disasterappeal 

The Australian Red Cross: https://www.redcross.org.au/campaigns/disaster-relief-and-recovery-donate 

Victorian Government Bushfire Appeal: https://www.communityenterprisefoundation.com.au/make-a-donation/bushfire-disaster-appeal/

Queensland Government Disaster Appeal: http://www.givit.org.au/ 

New South Wales Rural Fire Service: https://quickweb.westpac.com.au/OnlinePaymentServlet?cd_community=NSWRFS&cd_currency=AUD&cd_supplier_business=DONATIONS&action=EnterDetails 

Country Fire Service Foundation Volunteer Firefighter Support: https://cfsfoundation.org.au/donate 

The Port Macquarie Koala Hospital GoFundMe Campaign: https://www.gofundme.com/f/help-thirsty-koalas-devastated-by-recent-fires 

Wildlife Warriors: https://wildlifewarriors.org.au/support/australia

© Brown/@U2, 2020.