Archive for the ‘Farm Aid’ Category

Farm Aid still helping farmers (30 years and going strong)

Thursday, September 3rd, 2015

by: Lindsey Moon and Charity Nebbe

Listen to the show here.

Thirty years ago this month, a handful of musicians including Willie Nelson, Neil Young and John Mellencamp organized a benefit concert for Midwestern farmers struggling to make ends meet during the farm crisis of the 1980’s.

Naylor, who farms near Churdan and went to the first concert in Champaign, Illinois in 1985, says the morale boost the show afforded family farmers in Iowa was invaluable.

The scale was huge and the notoriety of the musicians was huge. It felt like the revolution had started.

“It was awesome that somebody would care and that somebody would want to organize something to help farmers,” Naylor says. “When I walked into Memorial Stadium, I realized that this could help. The scale was huge and the notoriety of the musicians was huge. It felt like the revolution had started.”

That first concert raised nearly $7 million and created the organization now known as FarmAid. During this hour of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with Naylor and Farm Aid’s Executive Director Carolyn Mugar about music and farm advocacy. Iowa State University’s Paul Lasley also joins the conversation.


Willie Nelson, Roger Miller, “Old Friends” (Farm Aid 1985)

Thursday, September 3rd, 2015

John Mellencamp Community 2015 Farm Aid Charity Auction

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2015


It’s that time of year again! Farm Aid Auction 2015 kicks off Wednesday, September 2nd at 10am ET running through the week and ending Wednesday, September 9th at 10 am.

First and foremost a huge thank you goes out to all of the fans, that donate items, and bid on these great items and to John for taking the time to autograph all these great items! We could not accomplish this without YOU. As you know the Farm Aid Auction has been a huge success over the years. John and the staff at Farm Aid are always amazed how the Mellencamp fans pull together to help support the family farmer!

All funds we raise including anyone that would like to donate will be credited to “The members of Community

Payment is expected within 5 days of the auction ending. Checks, money orders and paypal will be accepted. Please note that Paypal takes a fee. We are going to present the charitable contribution at Farm Aid 2015 so it is essential that payment is received within the 5 days of the auction ending so all payments are clear and one check can be issued. The staff at Farm Aid will receive a list of all of the fan club member’s names that donate and/or win an auction item and receive a thank you letter from them. Please serious bidders only. Good luck and thanks for your support!

Below are the easy to bid step by step directions:

To bid on any of these items simply email

Put the NUMBER and ITEM DESCRIPTION in the SUBJECT of your email
Your bid amount, and Name, Address, Phone number in the body of the email

You will receive an email back of receipt of your bid; when and if someone bids higher than you we will notify you by email and let you have the chance to bid again! It’s that simple! (If you do not get an email back IMMEDIATELY DON’T PANIC!) I go by the time the email is received. I will do my best to get back to all bidders in a timely manner.
Once there is a bid on an item I put the highest bids in red text

If you want to donate please email we take donations up until the end of the auction.

Mellencamp Community 2015 Farm Aid Charity Auction


Farm Aid

Tuesday, September 1st, 2015


Willie Nelson will host two Farm Aid restrospectives on TNN.  The Nashvill Network will highlight the 1996 Farm Aid concert in Columbia, SC.

Farm Aid Tickets Arrive in Red Bandanna

Monday, August 31st, 2015


How classy is this?

Thanks, Jodi, for sharing the photo of your ticket package that arrived for the Farm Aid concert in Chicago, on September 19, 2015.

For information about Farm Aid, the concert in Chicago, or to get your tickets:


Farm Aid 30 (Chicago, Illinois) (9/19/15)

Saturday, August 29th, 2015



Farm Aid 1997 (Lincoln, NE) (9/19/87)

Saturday, August 29th, 2015

by: L. Kent Wolgamott

Photos: Farm Aid III

On September 18, 1997, Memorial Stadium was full of fans. But not for football. The Huskers didn’t have a game on Sept. 19, 1987.

The stadium was packed for Farm Aid III, the biggest concert ever held in Nebraska and likely the largest single-day entertainment event in the state’s history.

Farm Aid III was a full day, starting at noon when Farm Aid founder Willie Nelson and his band Family launched into their trademark opener “Whiskey River” and ending 10 hours, 15 minutes later with Arlo Guthrie leading the day’s performers — and the crowd — through his father Woody’s “This Land is Your Land.”

In between, the concert featured the most impressive lineup to appear at any single Nebraska show before or since.

That lineup included Farm Aid leaders John Mellencamp and Neil Young; John Denver, whose band featured legendary guitarist James Burton; then newcomers Lyle Lovett, Vince Gill, Steve Earle and Dave Alvin; Kris Kristofferson, who reunited with Rita Coolidge; Bonnie Bramlett with her band Bandaloo Doctors; Steppenwolf; Joe Walsh; The Fabulous Thunderbirds at the peak of their fame; a by-satellite Grateful Dead; and a rare, perhaps only Nebraska appearance by Lou Reed, who has not played the state since.

Reed, who performed with Mellencamp’s band, rocked his Velvet Underground classic “Sweet Jane” and his only hit, “Walk on the Wild Side.” Unlike most of the day’s performers, the always difficult Reed wouldn’t talk to the media, saying he didn’t know anything about agriculture, except that he eats, and was at the show only because he’d been requested to perform. Asked for a comment for print, Reed sarcastically quipped “Power to the people,” something he’s never believed.

In contrast, most of the performers, such as farm-raised John Conlee, and actor hosts, such as Dennis Hopper and “Hill Street Blues” star Charles Haid, happily talked about Farm Aid, the need to save family farms and the music, which, far more than the talk, was the point of the day.

Of Farm Aid’s three board members — Nelson, Mellencamp and Young — Nelson made appearances throughout the day, and Young played a solo acoustic set, debuting “This Note’s for You,” his wry anti-corporate anthem that became an MTV hit.

Tim Kechely, now co-owner of Fuse Recording, spent his day at Farm Aid running backstage sound systems for Dietze Music, then going onto the stage and into the stadium to watch the show.

“One thing that stands out in my mind is the camaraderie between all the different musicians,” said Kechely. “There seemed to be a real unity going on, a real friendliness. They were really into being a part of it.”

That same sense of togetherness could be felt in the stadium as well, he said.

“You could see it in the audience, feel it in the audience,” Kechely said. “It was one of those things you walked away from and felt super good about. They (performers) weren’t out there to make their latest song a hit. They were there to try to make a difference, for something bigger. So was the audience.”

That’s essentially the same view Nelson had of the show.

“(Farm Aid III was) one of the strongest concerts I’ve ever taken part in, both musically and in the response from the audience and the whole state,“ he wrote in “Willie Nelson,” his 1988 autobiography.

Most of the crowd was made up of Nebraskans. But the 69,000 in attendance did not make a sellout. Officials had held back 2,000 tickets for day-of-show sales and all of them did not sell. Nonetheless, there has never been a bigger concert in Nebraska, nor is there likely to be any that come close to 70,000 people in the future.

In part, that is because stadium concerts are not so prevalent as they were two decades ago; Memorial Stadium, with its enclosures and sky boxes, isn’t exactly a prime concert venue, and Lincoln is far from the million-plus metro areas where stadium shows now take place.

In fact, Farm Aid III almost didn’t happen because of technical problems in using the stadium for a show, most prominently because, at that time, trucks could not be driven onto the field. So 60 volunteers had to help carry staging, lights and other production equipment from the trucks onto the artificial turf.

University officials, particularly then-football coach Tom Osborne, were also concerned that thousands of people walking on the field smoking and drinking would damage the turf, which was covered by an eighth-inch black mat during the concert. That proved to be a false fear.

Immediately after the show, Osborne thought he had found a number of cigarette burns at the north end of the field. They really were marks made to locate the stage that disappeared when it rained the day after the concert. The only damage to the field was in two spots, each 6 to 9 inches in diameter.

Farm Aid III was a moderate financial success, but did not measure up to the amount raised by its predecessors.

The 67,581 tickets sold — the remaining attendance included 600 volunteers, media, security and concert personnel — accounted for $1.35 million. That was the same amount as the concert’s production costs, meeting the goal of organizers.

About $1 million was raised from donations called in during the concert’s syndicated television broadcast that covered about 85 percent of the country. Television ad revenue was the day’s disappointment, bringing in only $200,000 rather than the $600,000 organizers estimated initially. Merchandise sales of $100,000, a donation of $200,000 from Nebraska Cares and other income brought the final total that went to farmers to $1.5 million to $1.7 million.

The first Farm Aid show, held in Chicago in 1985, raised about $5 million. Farm Aid II, held at a racetrack in Manor, Texas, had a net of well over $2 million.

Farm Aid, which Nelson repeatedly said he’d like to end in a few years if farmers got back on their feet, soldiers on. The 22nd Farm Aid concert is set for Saturday at Hersheypark Stadium in Hershey, Pa.

The sold-out show will draw 29,000 people, half of the number of Farm Aid III, to see a lineup that includes new Farm Aid board member Dave Matthews and Mellencamp, Young and Nelson.

Memorial Stadium will be packed on Saturday, too. This time the Huskers are playing. No guitars, drum kits and amps will be found inside, unlike a quarter-century ago.

Farm Aid 25 — Farm Aid Eve March

Friday, August 28th, 2015


Farm Aid Eve 25 in Milwaukee started out with a rousing march from the Milwaukee Market to the Papst Theater, where the Farm Aid Eve Dinner and concert were held.


We got lots of honks and waves of support


We sang and marched singing everything from ‘Beer Barrel Polka’ to ‘I’ll Fly Away.’


There were dancing cows with signs, and cheese head babies, and party hats and horns being blown.

It was fun and the perfect way to start off the Farm Aid 25 celebration.




Willie Nelson, Farm Aid 2009

Thursday, August 27th, 2015

Photos from Farm Aid by Paul Natkin and Ebet Roberts for sale, to benefit Farm Aid

Thursday, August 27th, 2015


Limited edition prints of iconic Farm Aid concerts, autographed by Farm Aid Board members autographed by Willie Nelson, Neil Young, John Mellencamp, and More.  Photos taken by two accomplished photographers who have been documenting Farm Aid since it’s beginning:  Paul Natkin and Ebet Roberts.

To commemorate the 30th annual Farm Aid Concert in Chicago on September 19, IfOnly is offering moments of the legendary festival from two of music’s most celebrated photographers: Ebet Roberts and Paul Natkin. They have been capturing the Farm Aid stage since the very beginning. Farm Aid is releasing these rare photos printed on archival, acid-free paper, and signed by the artists in the photos and the photographers themselves. Not only a remarkable piece of rock memorabilia, these offerings also help support American family farms and the Good Food Movement.farmaid4

To see all the great photos, and purchase your favorite:

Win a chance to visit Willie Nelson on his bus at Farm Aid (plus two tickets to concert!)

Wednesday, August 26th, 2015
A rare chance to meet the legendary artist and tour the star-studded backstage area at one of the nation’s biggest charity concerts.

Farm Aid 30, Chicago, Illinois (September 19, 2015)

Sunday, August 23rd, 2015
Micah Nelson's

Willie Nelson, Lily Meola, “Will You Remember Mine” (Farm Aid 2014) (Raleigh, NC)

Sunday, August 23rd, 2015

Willie Nelson and Lily Meola perform “Will You Remember Mine” at the Farm Aid concert in Raleigh, NC on September 13, 2014.

Farm Aid was started by Willie Nelson, Neil Young and John Mellencamp in 1985 to keep family farmers on the land and has worked since then to make sure everyone has access to good food from family farmers. Dave Matthews joined Farm Aid’s board of directors in 2001.

For more information about Farm Aid, visit:

Farm Aid’s performances are donated by the artists in order to raise funds and raise awareness for family farmers. They’ve raised their voices to help — what can you do?

Lily Meola has a new album coming out soon. Keep in touch with her, and hear her music:
Follow her on Facebook

Farm Aid 2015

Saturday, August 22nd, 2015


photo:  Pete Seeger

The crowd is always lively at Farm Aid concerts!

Tickets for the concert in Chicago on September 19,2 015:
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Support Family Farmers; Support Farm Aid

Thursday, August 20th, 2015