“She is great with the quips and the dialogue that will bring another dimension to the day, she will be the glue to get through the day and night.”
Mr Dainty, who is touring Michael Buble and Iron Maiden in Australia this year as well as Queen (with Adam Lambert replacing Freddie Mercury), said there was international interest in the Australian bushfire disaster and offers of assistance had come from all over the world.
“I have been talking to managers and agents in the UK and America, there isn’t anyone who doesn’t know about how devastating it is,” he said.
“I think there has been very few things like this that have captured people’s attention globally and I have had quite a few agents and managers ring me and offer whatever assistance they can.”
Along with Queen and Adam Lambert, Alice Cooper, Olivia Newton-John and KD Lang, who will perform her showstopping rendition of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah, the first line-up announcement includes more than a dozen local acts, including Amy Shark, Baker Boy, Conrad Sewell, Daryl Braithwaite, Delta Goodrem, Grinspoon, Guy Sebastian, Hilltop Hoods, Icehouse, Illy, Jessica Mauboy, Lee Kernaghan, Pete Murray, Peking Duk, Tina Arena and William Barton.
“There’s a lot of people involved, and we will be announcing more over the next week or so, hopefully delivering a brilliant and history-making night,” Mr Dainty said.
Tickets, which are tiered from $70 to $100, go on sale at noon on Monday and people are encouraged to add a donation to the bushfire appeal at the time of purchase.
The money raised will be split between the Red Cross, rural and regional fire services in affected stated and the RSPCA’s bushfire appeal.
Today’s line-up announcement comes as Michael Gudinski revealed plans to remount the Sound Relief concert, first played in 2009 to raise funds for the devastating black Saturday Bushfires.
Mr Gudinski’s Sound Relief will play on separate weekends in five cities in March. The 2009 concerts, held concurrently in Sydney and Melbourne, raised more than $8 million.
Thousand of dollars have also been raised in a grassroots campaign by Australia’s publishing community under the auspices of an #AuthorsForFiries twitter campaign. In it, authors were offering signed and personalised copies of their books, manuscript assessments, tea parties and even naming characters after winning bidders.
Good Weekend’s Konrad Marshall raised the most through the campaign by auctioning his final remaining first-edition copy of his book Yellow & Black about the Richmond Football Club, along with lunch with the club’s president. It was won for $24,000 to state firefighting bodies and an additional $16,000 to bushfire relief organisations.
Other authors who saw large bids include Leigh Sales and Annabel Crabb who raised $10,000, Virginia Trioli who raised $5200 and Trent Dalton who raised $6250. An original artwork by Alison Lester raised $3600.
Initially the campaign was mostly Australian authors but over the course of the week literary stars from around the world came on board.
So far, nearly $200 million has been raised through major donations alone with mining magnate and philanthropist Andrew ‘Twiggy’ Forrest making the single largest donation of $70 million.
Celebrities from Australia and around the world have also made significant contributions, including Elton John and Chris Hemsworth who handed over $1 million each, Kylie and Dannii Minogue as well as Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban also donated $500,000. International star Pink made a $500,000 donation which music icon Bette Midler, who has been tweeting about the bushfire crisis prolifically, matched over the weekend. Ellen DeGeneres, who is married to Australian actress Portia de Rossi, has launched a GoFundMe campaign which has, so far, raised more than $1.5 million.
Nathanael Cooper is the deputy culture editor at The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.