Seven days after Donald Trump was sworn in as President of the United States, his administration enacted an executive order banning individuals from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S. There was a swift backlash across the nation and EDM superstar Zedd took to Twitter to voice his dismay over the Muslim ban. But the Russian-born DJ, who grew up in Germany and now calls Los Angeles home, wasn’t content with merely voicing his opinion on the ban. Zedd spent the next 72 hours working with his team and calling on fellow artists as he pieced together a star-studded event to take place at Staples Center in Los Angeles.
Benefit show is going to happen.
Hit me up if u're willing to participate.
— Zedd (@Zedd) January 30, 2017
“After the president implemented the immigration ban, my client Zedd immediately felt the need to do something,” Zedd’s agent at Paradigm Lee Anderson told Amplify. “He and has so many of his peers joined together to use their voices and platform to put together a show to help the (American Civil Liberties Union).”
Zedd immediately reached out to fellow performers to gauge their interest in doing a benefit concert that would provide donations for the ACLU, which leapt into action when the Muslim ban left families divided and isolated at airports throughout the country.
“This is not about politics. This is about funding those who defend the individual rights and liberties that are guaranteed by the constitution and laws of this wonderful country we all live in,” Anderson said.
In order to keep the momentum that was built by airport protests across the country, Zedd immediately spoke with artists he knew who were equally passionate about the cause. He reached out to artists like Sia and Grimes who were matching donations for the ACLU. Meanwhile, Anderson reached out to Goldenvoice and his client’s first choice for a venue, Staples Center.
“There weren’t a lot of open dates. When we started the conversation — maybe two available dates in February and maybe two or three in March and only one in April,” explained Staples Center’s VP, Events and Booking Christy Castillo Butcher. “But knowing what it was all about we all jumped on board. It came together fairly quickly once we found a date that was open at Staples Center and that worked for Zedd’s travel schedule.”
The agreed upon date was April 3 and in addition to Zedd and “his amazing team, my team at Paradigm, Goldenvoice, Staples Center, and many other folks have donated their time and worked tirelessly to put together what we hope is a monumental event,” said Anderson.
“Everyone was really excited to see this come along and come together,” Castillo Butcher said. “Yes, it was quick and everybody had to work a little bit harder and longer a couple of days to pull it together. Everybody was just proud to be part of it and happy to work extra hard to pull it together.”
Castillo Butcher added “As a venue you try to be there for your community in many ways. Whether it is doing various charitable events or through your foundation.”
Less than 72 hours after Zedd first took to Twitter to announce his intentions, he returned to his audience with the news of a benefit concert. He explained that he could no longer stand idly by and that he and his fellow musicians were going to perform at the Staples Center with 100% of the proceeds going to the ACLU.
as an immigrant myself I feel the need to stand up for what I believe is right.
— Zedd (@Zedd) February 2, 2017
i didn't wanna sit around and watch so I decided to take action and ask my friends to help me out and come together to put on a concert.
— Zedd (@Zedd) February 2, 2017
— Zedd (@Zedd) February 2, 2017
On Feb. 2, Zedd announced the star-studded lineup for WELCOME! which would happen at Staples Center on April 3. The initial lineup included Zedd, Skrillex, Halsey, Incubus, Macklemore, Daya, Tinashe, and Imagine Dragons. Less than two weeks later WELCOME! added ex-Fifth Harmony member Camila Cabello, Bebe Rexha, Machine Gun Kelly, Miguel, and Mija for the final lineup.
“Zedd and the rest of the acts on this bill are donating their time and talents to raise awareness and money for a great organization,” said Anderson. “For those lucky enough to attend, we hope they also get an unforgettable night of music! In addition to the performance we also have some incredible speakers taking part in the event.”
Staples Center is uniquely qualified to handle the 13-act lineup as a well-oiled machine that puts on The Grammy Awards, countless radio shows with multiple performers, as well as BET Experience, which is three nights of concerts prior to the BET Awards at Microsoft Theater. Let’s not forget that time in 2012 when Staples reconfigured their arena for six professional hockey and basketball games in four days.
“That’s what we do at Staples Center. We are constantly going from one event to the next and turning over the venue and the campus,” said Castillo Butcher. “We are always up for new challenges and quite honestly, even though there are those dark days we don’t like to see them. It was great to fill a dark day and do something for a great cause.”
In addition, every artist donating their time to WELCOME! is already familiar with the LA Live campus. Between Staples Center, Microsoft Theater, and Microsoft Square, all the participating musicians have performed somewhere at the world-famous destination
“It’s been incredible to see so many artists join forces and donate their time to make WELCOME! a reality,” Zedd said in a statement provided by AEG. “Staples Center and Goldenvoice have been great partners as everything has come together for the event. We hope WELCOME! will help the ACLU continue to do the important work they’re doing to protect people’s basic rights under the constitution.”
Tickets for WELCOME! are on sale through AXS with 100% of the proceeds going to the ACLU.
“Staples Center does 250 events a year, but I think this one will be really special for 2017 with the climate of where we are politically and socially,” Castillo Butcher said. “This could be a trend we see in our industry for the foreseeable future.”
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