Play:Fair for People and Planet — a major United Nations music activation for sustainability and climate

UN SDG Action Campaign
5 min readJul 13, 2021

The concert, held in Milan, Italy on 17 July, is the first mobilization moment leading up to September’s Global Week to #Act4SDGs, bringing together millions of people to turn it around for a healthy, just and green recovery

Milan Play:Fair for People and Planet, organized by the UN SDG Action Campaign in partnership with Music Innovation Hub, Keychange, the city of Milan, the Milan Triennale, and partners from the SDG Music Network, will be held at an unexpected location in the center of Milan, Italy, taking into account safety measures with a limited on-site audience consisting of activists and fans. The event will take place and be live streamed on 17 July at 18:30 CET.

To ensure inclusion and have as many people as possible take part, Play:Fair will be globally broadcast on United Nations channels and on the dedicated website. People are asked to register their sustainable action on the website to receive a virtual ticket to the event. In addition, the organizers have also offered 120 local residents the opportunity to be added to the guest list.

The event features live performances by Margherita Vicario, Epoque and Populous, young and iconic artists from the Italian and international music scene, who are raising their voices to take action on sustainability, climate, and gender equality, at a moment when the world is sensing a new sense of hope after the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I am so proud to hold the first Play:Fair event in Milan, a vibrant city where I myself have deep roots, that has always been a symbol of constant transformation,” said Marina Ponti, Director of the UN SDG Action Campaign.

“We want to bring hope to people, at a time when they need it most, and inspire everyone to bring change in our societies — now that we have all seen that change is possible when there is the vision and urgency.”

Looking to leverage music to inspire people to take action; and to work with the music industry to become more aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals; the concert is curated and produced with sustainability in focus, held during daylight hours, utilising pre-existing stages that require minimal production, and hosting local artists and a local audience that are encouraged to use sustainable transport to get to the event. The event will be accessible to people across the world via a global broadcast.

Dino Lupelli, General Manager of the Music Innovation Hub, who has worked on raising the issues of environmental, social and cultural impacts to the music industry for many years, said that,

“Music can be an extraordinary vehicle of the value systems promoted by the 2030 Agenda — but to urge change it takes credibility and consistency. It is therefore up to the different protagonists to become aware of their choices, and Music Innovation Hub, thanks to Play:Fair, tries to increase this awareness.”

Margherita Vicario, urban pop artist and performer said,

“We have all had such a tough year and I’m looking forward to playing in front of an audience again to talk about sustainability and gender equality. Being part of the line-up of the first edition of Play:Fair for People and Planet here in Milan is a wonderful opportunity to spread the message of unity and solidarity.”

Bringing home the message of equality, Congolese-Italian artist Epoque spoke about how music has given her voice to express her identity and to speak about racism, inclusion, empowerment.

“I love the concept of Play:Fair and to be part of a sustainable event. We only have one planet and each of us needs to do our part to protect it,” she said.

Populous, one of the most popular Italian DJs who brings his queer identity to his music explained how he wanted to lead by example and show that the music industry can change.

“We need to do things differently — and better. Let’s create climate conscious events that can be replicated all around the world. I want to raise awareness of equal rights for all, including the LGBTQ+ community — and music is what unites us.”

The event is the kick off moment leading up to the Global Week to #Act4SDGs, held on 17–28 September during the UN General Assembly, and ties into the major United Nations events and conferences happening in 2021 — many held in Italy — from the pre-Food Systems Summit and pre-COP to the Youth4Climate Summit.

Three days prior to the live event, beginning on July 14th, three substantive Turning Point Dialogues addressing the themes of the concert — music and sustainability, youth and climate, and food security, will be aired, featuring established and emerging changemakers sharing personal insights, ideas and calls for action through an intimate conversation format. They will launch at 18:30 on the website

Keeping within the framework of inspiring sustainability efforts, the organizers are working on climate impact measures of their efforts, to support other music organisers in rethinking the way they produce music experiences. The Italian based company AWorld, who has created the official app for the United Nations ActNow climate campaign that allows users to track their climate footprint, will launch a challenge in support of the event with the aim to save 20 tons of CO2 in the 18 days leading up to 17 July that ends in the planting of fruit trees that will absorb an additional 20 tons of CO2.

Press release also available in Italian here:

About the United Nations SDG Action Campaign

The United Nations Secretary-General established the UN SDG Action Campaign to bring people together from every part of the world to act on the SDGs and to hold decision-makers to account for progress. Through compelling and creative SDG outreach and communications, we serve UN Member States and the United Nations whilst bridging thinkers and doers from civil society, local governments, think tanks, the arts and culture, the media and the business world. It mobilizes individuals to champion the SDGs in homes, communities and beyond.




UN SDG Action Campaign

Official account of the UN SDG Action Campaign, aiming to mobilize, inspire & connect a movement to #FlipTheScript for the #GlobalGoals