TORONTO - A star-studded lineup that includes Richard Gere, Alicia Keys and the Barenaked Ladies will kick off the opening ceremonies for next month's International AIDS Conference in Toronto.
Other performers who will take to the Rogers Centre stage on Aug. 13 to help open the conference will include Blue Man Group and Canadian artists Our Lady Peace, Amanda Marshall and Chantal Kreviazuk
The program will begin at 7 p.m. with remarks from such luminaries as Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty. It will conclude with a keynote address by Bill and Melinda Gates, whose charitable foundation supports a variety of HIV/AIDS programs, followed by a performance by Canadian opera star Measha Brueggergosman and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra.
The concert opening the six-day conference is to begin at 9 p.m., with proceeds from ticket sales going toward several AIDS-related groups.
"These two events in one evening at the Rogers Centre — the opening with the concert — promise to make this a memorable evening that will bring even greater attention to the AIDS issue here in Canada and around the world," said Andrew Pringle, board president for the Canadian Foundation for AIDS Research (CANFAR), one of the organizations hosting the concert to raise awareness and funds to fight HIV/AIDS.
Other major participants slated to attend the Aug. 13-18 conference include former U.S. president Bill Clinton and Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway, who is a UNAIDS special representative.
Besides the 25,000 tickets being given to conference delegates for the opening ceremony and concert, an additional 20,000 will be sold to the public.