This chapter examines the concept of populism in the context of U2’s (2009-2011) ‘360°’ Tour and their fans’ responses. Despite the commercial motivations of the tour, U2’s music and concerts create a political experience for the fans. The band, and in particular Bono, are well known for their work as musicians, as well as their endeavours to make the world a better place. They use their charisma to influence the activities of the fans, and their support for various socio-political initiatives such as the ‘One’ campaign, an organisation of more than 9 million people around the world acting to end extreme poverty and preventable disease, particularly in Africa. Moreover, they apply their popular appeal and high profile to secure the support of politicians and government officials for their particular socio-political campaigns. They also use their status to acquire certain privileges and promotional opportunities. However, the band’s strategy is not entirely successful due to their occasional misjudgement of local issues and the fact that some fans resist Bono’s influence on their activities, as well as the political elements of U2’s shows.
|Title of host publication||Populism in Sport, Leisure and Popular Culture|
|Editors||Bryan Clift, Alan Tomlinson|
|Publication status||Accepted/In press - 2020|
|Publisher||British Sociological Association|