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  • Southside

Bob Geldof gifts Band Aid archive as thanks to the Irish

Monday, 25th December, 2017 3:00pm
Bob Geldof gifts Band Aid archive as thanks to the Irish

Bob Geldof is pictured with Minister Josepha Madigan at the National Library of Ireland last week.

Bob Geldof gifts Band Aid archive as thanks to the Irish

Bob Geldof is pictured with Minister Josepha Madigan at the National Library of Ireland last week.

BOB Geldof was at the National Library of Ireland last week where plans to unveil a massive collection of letters, photographs and charity records from the iconic 1984 Band Aid fundraising event were revealed.

The Band Aid founder, fresh from the controversy over his Freedom of the City row with Dublin City Council, was joined by Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Josepha Madigan, as they officially announced the donation of the archive by the Band Aid Trust.

A commitment of €245,000 in digitisation funds from the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht to facilitate the development of the archive by the National Library was also announced.

Band Aid was a worldwide phenomenon in the mid-1980s. The supergroup, formed by Bob Geldof, brought together more than 40 of the top musical artists of the 1980s, including U2, Ultravox, Bananarama, Duran Duran and Geldof’s own band, The Boomtown Rats.

Band Aid’s ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas?’, co-written by Bob Geldof and Midge Ure, is one of the most popular Christmas songs ever released and has been generating royalties for the Band Aid Trust every Christmas since its release in 1984. 

The UK and US Live Aid concerts on July 13 were among the defining events of the decade and an unforgettable television event.

 When the Band Aid Trust closed its offices in 1991, it put all its paperwork and files into a 100-square foot storage unit in London. This collection will now be transferred to the NLI, where it will be catalogued, preserved, selectively digitised and exhibited. Many will be familiar with large parts of the Band Aid story but it is in the archives that the full picture emerges.

 The archive includes hundreds of letters from private individuals – including many children and teenagers – mostly handwritten and on a range of personal writing paper. There are also publicity materials, including press cuttings and photographs and donations of objects, including artwork, poetry and musical recordings.

Geldof said: “By donating our story to the National Library of Ireland we enable other generations to study and hopefully be inspired for the future. This then is our thanks and gratitude to Ireland and the Irish.

 “We want you to use this gift for the benefit of those in whose name we too will continue to work. 

“But every time that record is played, every time our films are shown or sold, every time some kind person leaves us some money on their death, every time someone covenants part of their wage, then we continue.

“This gift is not a Band Aid ‘au revoir’ but rather our continuation. We are proud to give this to you. Make use of it and enjoy a story of what is possible.”

 The Director of the NLI, Dr Sandra Collins, added: “The Band Aid archive is a wonderful and remarkable acquisition for the National Library, and we are very grateful to Bob Geldof for having proposed the donation.

“His role as a founder of Band Aid is a source of great pride in Ireland and the central part played by Bob and U2 in the London Live Aid concert gave Irish fans a strong sense of connection with the event.”

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