NetAid - feed the world again please

This weekend's NetAid event heralds the biggest charitable coming together of musical talent since 1985's LiveAid, and it's all on the Web

On Saturday October 9, the world of pop will focus on raising money for world debt relief at simultaneous NetAid concerts in Wembley, Geneva, and New Jersey -- but arguably the most groundbreaking event is the sheer extent of NetAid's web coverage.

Internet users will be able to hook-in to coverage of the fests using IP-multicast technology, from the first bars in London to the final emotional swansong in New York, thanks to an enormous technical infrastructure built by Cisco, University of Oregon, the UNDP, Akamai, KPMG and others.

Three world leaders backed NetAid with Prime Minister Tony Blair, US President Bill Clinton and ex-South African President Nelson Mandela, cutting the virtual ribbon by logging on to Web site first.

But what we all really want to know is will we see a good gig? The most up-to-date gig guides look pretty cool, with a mixture of up and coming acts and well-established wrinklies.

The Wembley bash features arguably the most diverse and exciting line-up, with a blend of old faithfuls, easy-listening chart pop, a dash of Britpop, and a top name UK DJ. The full line-up will include sets from Bryan Adams, David Bowie, Bush, Catatonia, the Corrs, Eurythmics, George Michael, Stereophonics, Paul Oakenfold, oh and of course Mr ubiquitous... Robbie Williams

The Giants' Stadium event goes with established US players plus a dash of classic English talent thrown in. Flying the flag for Blighty will be Jimmy Page and Sting. The other headliners are Mary J. Blige, Busta' Rhymes, Counting Crows, Sheryl Crow, Wyclef Jean with Bono, Jewel, Cheb Mami, Puff Daddy and Zuchero.

Geneva offers a rather more sedate -- and strangely invitation only affair -- highlighting the importance of an Internet feed. The line-up is correspondingly more pedestrian but will no doubt appeal to the extremely welcome corporate fat-cats prepared to make heavy donations to the cause. Tune in to Switzerland and you can swing your pants to the delights of Des'ree, Bryan Ferry, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Michael Kamen and Texas.

Please drop by NetAid's site, enjoy the music, and hey, give generously folks!