SIR BOB GELDOF yesterday unveiled details of the biggest musical event ever to raise awareness of poverty in Africa.

The man behind the Live Aid concert 20 years ago has masterminded five free concerts to take place simultaneously in London, Paris, Berlin, Rome and Philadelphia, on July 2.

Geldof and fellow fundraiser Midge Ure are also planning a huge rally in Edinburgh on July 6 - the eve of the G8 summit at Gleneagles.

More than a million people are expected to converge on the Scottish capital to highlight the injustice of Third World poverty.

Madonna, Robbie Williams and Sir Paul McCartney head the line-up for what will be called Live 8.

The concerts will be held at London's Hyde Park, the Eiffel Tower in Paris, Berlin's Brandenburg Gate, the Circus Maximus in Rome, and the Museum of Art in Philadelphia.

Hundreds of thousands of music fans are expected to attend, with billions more worldwide watching on television.

The former Boomtown Rats frontman said Live 8 represented "a unique opportunity for Britain to do something unparalleled in the world".

He said: "Twenty years on, it strikes me as morally repulsive and intellectually absurd that people die of want in a world of surplus."

And he said he hoped the concerts would "tilt the world a little bit on its axis in favour of the poor".

Geldof said he had taken a great deal of persuasion to stage a follow-up to Live Aid.

He said: "I was very reluctant to do this again.

"I couldn't see how anything could possibly be better than that glorious day 20 years ago, which was almost perfect in what it achieved.

"But it seemed to me we could gather together again - this time not for charity but for political justice."

Geldof said the situation in Africa had worsened because of spiralling debt and unfair trade.

The organisers urged every man, woman and child in Britain to take time off work or school and travel to Scotland after the Live 8 concerts on a journey they are calling The Long Walk to Justice.

In typical Geldof style, the singer warned the G8 leaders they should sit up and take notice.

He said: "If you're not prepared to do that, you're not welcome in my country.

"If anyone won't come to our party, they can f*** off."

Four Weddings and a Funeral director Richard Curtis, who is heading the campaign, said: "Every day, 50,000 people die unnecessarily from poverty. If 50,000 people died in London on Monday, in Rome on Tuesday, in Berlin on Wednesday, in New York on Thursday and in Paris on Friday, the G8 leaders in Gleneagles would find the money and the solution to the problem as they walked from the front door to the reception desk."

Geldof has written to the Pope asking him to attend.

"I think he should show up. I think it should be his first gig," Geldof said.

Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell last night pledged her support to the event.

The Royal Parks Agency, part of the Culture Department, has promised to expand the Hyde Park site by 50 per cent to give it a capacity of 150,000.

Ms Jowell said: "The Government is 100 per cent behind Live 8. We want it to be the biggest and best concert that the capital has ever seen.

"The G8 summit in Edinburgh, which follows the concert, offers an opportunity for the world's developed nations to really make a difference - to do something positive for the Third World.

"Live 8 will set the scene, and we are proud to be able to help make it happen.

"I pay tribute to the team at the Royal Parks Agency who have been happy to go that extra mile. We are all looking forward to a great day."