John Cleese, Liam Gallagher and Sir Bob Geldof unite for homeless ‘Live Aid’
Musicians will perform acoustic “busker” sets at the Ross Bandstand for the event.
Liam Gallagher, Sir Bob Geldof and John Cleese are among a raft of stars who will take part in a rough sleeping event dubbed “Live Aid” for the homeless.
It is hoped Sleep in the Park will see around 9,000 people camp overnight at Princes Street Gardens in Edinburgh to raise cash for charitable organisation Social Bite.
Musicians including the Wonderwall singer, Amy Macdonald, Deacon Blue and Frightened Rabbit will perform acoustic “busker” sets at the Ross Bandstand.
Comedian Rob Brydon will host, the Monty Python legend will read a bedtime story while the Band Aid organiser will sleep overnight in the gardens.
Sir Bob said: “When we launched Live Aid in 1985, it showed the power of music and events to create real and important social change. I first met Josh and Alice from Social Bite five years ago and I am delighted to support them and their effort to eradicate homelessness in Scotland by sleeping out in the cold at the event.
“The event has the potential to be a game changer in tackling the issue and I am right behind it, even if a little nervous to brave a cold Scottish winter’s night. I know Scotland to be a compassionate nation and I would implore you to get involved.”
Gallagher added: “Ever since Oasis got signed in Glasgow at King Tut’s, Scotland has always had a special place in my heart. The fans are among the best in the world. I’m looking forward to playing in Edinburgh and supporting this charity. I hope the event helps as many people back on their feet as possible.”
Organisers have set a fundraising target of £4 million from the event, but are also looking to generate 1,000 employment offers and 1,000 lodging pledges.
It comes as part of Social Bite’s aim to eradicate homelessness in Scotland within five years.
No tickets will be sold for Sleep in the Park, meaning members of the public and businesses can only attend by reaching fundraising targets and accepting the sleep-out challenge.
A host of other celebrities, sports personalities and figures from across the political spectrum are also expected to camp out overnight.
Josh Littlejohn, co-founder of Social Bite, said: “We reached out to lots of people to come and support the event in different ways and really try and make it exciting for 9,000 people to come along to.
“We managed to get different musicians who are going to be buskers and do a stripped-back acoustic set.
“We’ve got a bit of an all-star line-up. In my mind, I see this as the Live Aid of homelessness in Scotland. We can use the event as a catalyst to do something really meaningful about the issue.”
Social Bite started as a sandwich shop on Rose Street in Edinburgh in August 2012.
One quarter of its staff are homeless and it has received visits from Hollywood superstars Leonardo DiCaprio and George Clooney.
The organisation is the largest distributor of free fresh food to the homeless in the UK, giving out more than 100,000 items of food and hot drinks per year.
Work is currently under way on the new Social Bite village, which will see 10 purpose-built two-bedroom homes installed on a 1.5 acre site in the city’s Granton area.
Its aim is to provide a safe living environment for up to 20 people from homeless backgrounds.
The first residents are expected to move in before Christmas this year and the first prototype house is currently on display in Edinburgh’s St Andrews Square.
Sleep in the Park’s website www.spleepinthepark.co.uk was to launch at 3pm on Wednesday, where people could sign up to the event taking place on Saturday December 9.