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Big Apple/Big Easy Concerts Raise $9 Million For Hurricane Relief

(CelebrityAccess MediaWire) —

Proceeds from “From the Big Apple to the Big Easy”, New York City’s Concerts for the Gulf Coast, two star-studded concerts held at both Madison Square Garden and Radio City Music Hall on September 20, have reached approximately $9 million dollars for the long-term hurricane relief efforts of the Gulf region. The $9 million dollars, which will be directed to the Bush Clinton Katrina Fund, Habitat for Humanity and MusiCares and The Children’s Health Fund, were generated through ticket sales, sponsorship dollars, food and merchandise sales, the pay-per-view telecast and the donation of $1 million dollars by Madison Square Garden. The amount raised will continue to grow as the DVD and CD sales come into focus. The Garden also underwrote 100% of all production costs related to the concerts.

"From the Big Apple to the Big Easy was quite simply one of the most memorable and important nights at Madison Square Garden and Radio City Music Hall," said James L. Dolan, chairman of Madison Square Garden and president and chief executive officer of Cablevision Systems Corporation. "We are privileged to have played host to this unforgettable evening, which celebrated the magic and tradition of New Orleans music and culture, which are priceless and irreplaceable. We are grateful for the overwhelming support of New York, and all of America, and to all of the events' participants, many of whom, as New Orleans residents, had suffered great personal loss themselves."

From the Big Apple to the Big Easy was comprised of two concerts, each more than five hours long, featuring New Orleans music; traditional rock and roll and a combination of both genres. Amidst two venues transformed into a celebration of New Orleans culture, including Mardi Gras beads, décor and regional food favorites, before seen musical combinations, among them: Aaron Neville and Simon & Garfunkel; Dave Matthews and Jimmy Buffett; the Neville Brothers and the Meters; Diana Krall, Troy Andrews and Kermit Ruffins; Elvis Costello and Dave Bartholomew; and Cyndi Lauper, Irma Thomas and The Dixie Cups. The events also featured Dave Matthews, the Meters and the Neville Brothers commuting from venue to venue to take part in on-stage performances at both The World’s Most Famous Arena and The Showplace of the Nation.

Madison Square Garden featured Allen Toussaint, Bette Midler, Buckwheat Zydeco, Clarence “Frogman” Henry, Cyndi Lauper, Dave Bartholomew, Diana Krall, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, The Dixie Cup, Elton John, Elvis Costello, Irma Thomas, Jimmy Buffett, John Fogerty, Kermit Ruffins, Lenny Kravitz, the Meters, the Neville Brothers, The Rebirth Brass Band, Ry Cooder, Simon & Garfunkel, and Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews.

Radio City Music Hall played host to Dave Matthews, Galactic, John Mayer, Joss Stone, the Mardi Gras Indians, The Meters, The Neville Brothers, Ray Lamontagne, Tom Waits and Trey Anastasio.

From the Big Apple to the Big Easy at Madison Square Garden was also a historic first through its pay-per-view offering. The concert telecast represented the first time that so many regional cable and satellite systems, including Cablevision; Comcast; Time Warner Cable; iNDemand; DirecTV; TVN and EchoStar joined together to offer a benefit concert, with 100% of the $19.95 cost going to the event’s beneficiaries. It is estimated that more than 50,000 households purchased the pay-per-view telecast, making it among the highest-rated concert events ever held on pay-per-view.

"Naturally, we were anxious to find ways to contribute to the Katrina relief effort and to help the victims of this terrible tragedy,” said Rob Jacobson, president and chief executive officer, iNDemand Networks. “This event offered us the perfect opportunity to utilize the power of pay-per-view to do both. We were grateful for the opportunity to contribute and thrilled that the concert turned out so successfully."

From the Big Apple to the Big Easy will continue to raise funds for the significant long-term costs of rebuilding the Gulf region through the sale of CDs, available on Rhino Records, and DVDs, on Warner Brothers. Both the CD and DVD will be available in December.

Bear Stearns and KeySpan were presenting sponsors of From the Big Apple to the Big Easy. WNBC-TV was the event’s media partner.

Radio City Entertainment, in association with veteran television producer Ken Ehrlich (“The Grammy Awards”) and Quint Davis, president of Festival Productions, Inc. and producer/director of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and Essence Music Festival, served as executive producers of From the Big Apple to the Big Easy at Madison Square Garden. Superfly Productions along with Red Light Management served as executive producers of From the Big Apple to the Big Easy at Radio City Music Hall. –Bob Grossweiner and Jane Cohen