Play:Fair for People and Planet — live from Milan to the world

UN SDG Action Campaign
6 min readJul 22, 2021

Music unites us, no matter who and where we are! On 17 July, the first Play:Fair for People and Planet concert was held in Milan, Italy, and thousands of people across the world joined to hear incredible artists raise their voices for sustainability, gender equality, and give messages of hope and inspiration to turn things around.

The broadcast received over 11,000 views from over 166 countries around the world. Over 1,600 people shared their SDG actions to receive a virtual ticket to watch the broadcast. Actions included: supporting local food sources, using sustainable transport, reducing waste, going plastic free, using second-hand clothes, creating social impact art, getting better informed and educating others on the SDGs, using sustainable energy, volunteering, advocating for green policies, speaking up on gender equality, and many more.

The music activation was a key moment to amplify the need for individual and collective action ahead of major United Nations events and conferences — many held in Italy — happening in 2021; from the pre-Food Systems Summit and pre-COP to the Youth4Climate Summit, and leading up to the Global Week to #Act4SDGS during the UN General Assembly in September.

Play:Fair from the stage in Milan

Teatro Burri, Parco Sempione

“We are here today to celebrate in solidarity together, and to leverage the power of music to call for collective action to turn things around for our planet and for our people — because unless everyone — including our planet — is safe, healthy and protected — no one is,” said Marina Ponti, Director of the UN SDG Action Campaign.

Marina Ponti and Musonda Mumba, Play:Fair, Milan 2021

Musonda Mumba, Director of the UNDP Rome Center for Sustainable Development and the evening’s Master of Ceremonies, spoke about the importance of climate action and sustainable food systems, saying that the UN Secretary-General called 2021 as a “make or break year in reconciling human activities with climate and nature.”

Live performances

“We can start a revolution dancing!” — Populous

Margherita Vicario, Epoque and Populous, young and iconic artists from the Italian and international music scene inspired the crowd with performances, and highlighted the need 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.

Epoque at Play:Fair, Milan 2021
Epoque performing on stage at Play:Fair, Milan 2021

Congolese-Italian singer Epoque and her DJs warmed up the crowd with danceable beats and told the audience that we can all do something to make a change for a better world:

“Every little thing that we do today can make a change tomorrow. Each one of us is important. I’m grateful to be here! Don’t take for granted who you are and what you can do today to turn it around.” — Epoque

Margherita Vicario performs her top hits, Play:Fair, Milan 2021

Next up was pop singer, songwriter, actress and Italy’s KeyChange ambassador Margherita Vicario who spoke on the power of music to bring people together:

“Music is powerful. Music is about vision. I think that there are lots of visions and questions that can be answered through the visions of different people. That’s why I’m proud to be a KeyChange Ambassador.” — Margherita Vicario

Margherita Vicario performs her top hits at Play:Fair, Milan 2021

Margherita energized the crowd with performances of hits DNA, Romeo, Giubbottino, Piña Colada, Come Noi (Like us), a cover of “Is this love”, Mandela, Abaué and she ended by leading the crowd in singing some verses of Abaué together.

You can also listen to a playlist Margherita picked just for Play:Fair here.

Populous at Play:Fair, Milan 2021

Populous closed the show, accompanied by performers KenJii and Cesare Damico. Among the most talented DJs and producers in Italy, he brings his queer identity to music and celebrates a femininity outside every gender stereotype. His live set saw the crowd dancing into the evening, and his incredible dancers KenJii and Cesare dazzled everybody with their fabulous moves.

Populous, accompanied by performers KenJii and Cesare Damico, at Play:Fair, Milan 2021

A sustainable event

BikeMi, the bike sharing service of the Municipality of Milan, offered guests vouchers

Looking to make a change in the music industry by becoming more aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals; Play:Fair was curated and produced with sustainability in focus: held during daylight hours, utilizing pre-existing stages that require minimal production and construction, and hosting local artists and a local audience that are encouraged to use sustainable transport to get to the event. See more on the sustainable approach here.

Guests use sustainable transport to arrive to Play:Fair, Milan 2021
Guests use sustainable transport to arrive to Play:Fair, Milan 2021

Through a challenge launched through the UN ActNow app, over 95 tons of CO2 were saved!

Turning Point Dialogues

In the three days prior to the live event, three substantive Turning Point Dialogues addressing the themes of the concert — music and sustainability, youth and climate, and food security, were aired, featuring changemakers sharing personal insights, ideas and calls for action through an intimate conversation format. Watch the dialogues here

Join the We Revolution — Global Week to #Act4SDGs

The Global Week to #Act4SDGs on 17–28 September is a global mobilizing moment to show world leaders and governments that people are committed, dedicated, and inspired to take action on the Sustainable Development Goals. This powerful video message, narrated by Epoque and with music by Populous, was premiered at the closing of the event, inviting everybody to join the We Revolution, the movement to mobilize millions of actions for people and planet and to get ready for September.

#TurnItAround AR Filter

Show your support for climate action, social justice, equality and people and planet with the new #TurnItAround AR filter on Facebook and Instagram and tag us at @SDGaction

Thanks to all who made Play:Fair possible!

Margherita Vicario, Marina Ponti, Epoque and Populous, Play:Fair for People and Planet, Milan 2021

The UN SDG Action Campaign would like to thank all the partners who made the activation possible:

Co-organizing partner: Music Innovation Hub

Supporting Partners: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Triennale Milano, UN Climate Change, ASVIS, the city of Milan, Act Now, Keychange, UNDP Rome Centre for Sustainable Development

Outreach Partners: Youth4Climate: Driving Ambition Italy 2021, Young Ambassadors Society, UN Food Systems Summit, Center for Music Ecosystems, AWorld, Pvblic Foundation, UN Strategy Hub, UNRIC, Green Media Lab

Artists: Epoque, Margherita Vicario and Populous

Master of Ceremonies: Musonda Mumba, Director of the UNDP Rome Centre

Turning Point Dialogues speakers: Marina Ponti, Amina J. Mohammed, Musonda Mumba, Ruggero Pietromarchi, Samsaya Sampda Sharma, Kehkashan Basu, Mitzi Jonelle Tan, Cherrie Atilano and Mike Nkhombo Khunga

All of the viewers and participants from around the world!

Re-live some of the exciting moments by checking out the highlighted stories on our Instagram page.

The crowd enjoys at Play:Fair, Milan 2021
The crowd enjoys at Play:Fair, Milan 2021.

Event photographs by Elena Di Vincenzo.
View full gallery here.



UN SDG Action Campaign

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