Archive for the ‘Farm Aid’ Category

Download the Farm Aid 2018 App

Thursday, August 16th, 2018

Get the official Farm Aid 2018 mobile app for iPhone and Android so you’ll have the venue map, set times for your favorite artists, demo schedules, artists briefings and the latest concert updates all in your back pocket.

Support Family Farmers

Wednesday, August 15th, 2018
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This day in Willie Nelson history: Farm Aid XXVI (Kansas City, MO) (August 13, 2011)

Monday, August 13th, 2018

by SharonOnTheMove


I took this one; such a sweet look

I took this photo

photo: Mary Francis Andrews


photo: Mary Francis Andrews

Sunday, August 12th, 2018

Willie Nelson and Mike Love, Farm Aid 1996

Sunday, August 12th, 2018

Tim Dominick
>Willie Nelson and Mike Love of the Beach Boys during the Farm Aid concert at Williams-Brice Stadium on Oct. 12, 1996.
by: Teddy KulmalaWhen Beyoncé and Jay-Z take the stage inside Williams-Brice Stadium in two weeks, they’ll join a distinguished list of other performers and figures who have drawn thousands of people to the venue most often used for USC football games.

Here are some of the other big events that have happened under the lights.

Farm Aid

One of the biggest music events to rock Columbia was Farm Aid in October 1996.

Country music star Willie Nelson started Farm Aid with John Mellencamp in 1985 to raise both awareness about the loss of family farms and funds to keep farming families on their land. South Carolina, whose farmers were reeling from the effects of Hurricane Bertha that fall, was selected to host the 1996 event.

The daylong event was a who’s-who of music, with Tim McGraw, Martina McBride, the Beach Boys and Columbia’s own Hootie and the Blowfish among those taking the stage. The entire ensemble came out onstage to perform with Nelson for the finale.

The event raised more than $700,000 that year.


Pope John Paul II

On a humid September evening in 1987, Pope John Paul II led an interchurch worship service inside a Williams-Brice Stadium packed with cheering, applauding worshipers.

The 35-minute prayer service drew more than 60,000 people from around the country who began arriving at the stadium at noon that day, even though the gates didn’t open until 2 p.m. and the homily didn’t begin until 7:30 p.m. It was part of the pope’s 10-day visit to North America, and was the first and only visit by a pontiff to South Carolina.

Read about the others that have appeared there, President Obama, Paul McCartney, Billy Graham and more here. 

It’s Time to Speak Up – support dairy farmers

Sunday, August 12th, 2018

The Contagious Philosophy of Willie Nelson

Saturday, August 11th, 2018

photo: Paul Natkin

Willie Nelson, Farm Aid
Memorial Stadium, University of Illinois
Champaign, Illinois
September 22, 1985t

This guest post was written by Joe Schroeder and David Senter

We’ve both always known that Willie Nelson was a good guy.

Throughout the years, listening to his music, we knew he must be good. But after working with Willie on issues affecting family farmers and having the chance to listen to Willie speak from the Farm Aid stage, we know his character is unquestionable.

He understands the struggle on the ground — the daily economic and political struggle facing so many in the countryside and elsewhere — and he isn’t afraid to take a stance against the powerful and the greedy.

In 1985, Willie realized that, through music, he and several dozen of his artist friends could take a stand and bring attention to the struggle family farmers were facing at the time. Farmers were being forced off their land by the hundreds every day. There were no legal resources available for folks, even though they had legal rights.

Someone needed to take initiative and support their struggle. So he started Farm Aid.

Willie stood up then and he’s still standing with family farmers today.

He often says that he was naïve to think that one concert would be enough to solve the problems facing family farmers. So 30 years later he continues to use the power of music for family farmers through his work with Farm Aid.

Since the farm crisis of the 1980s, Farm Aid keeps confronting new issues. Today, it represents the resilience and creativity of farmers who are facing a deck stacked against them. Farm Aid has given all family farmers the ability to have a voice. Willie has given many of us the strength and inspiration to continue the fight. He understands the fight and he isn’t afraid to join his friends and family farmers on the front lines. That makes a difference to all of us.

Willie Nelson is one of the greatest songwriters in the world. His songs tell his life’s story, which is a story that the average person can relate to. He’s an innovator who brought different strains of music — from gypsy jazz to hippie concept albums — to Nashville, while sustaining his outlaw credibility and genuine southern charm. He honestly represents the best of American music and the grit of rural culture.

And despite his talent, Willie’s humility is second-to-none; he takes time at his concerts to get to know his fans and hear their stories. At the annual Farm Aid concert and when he’s on the road throughout the year, Willie sits down with family farmers to discuss the challenges they are facing. The time he has spent meeting fans for autographs, taking pictures with fans or engaging in conversations is immeasurable. He shows people that they are important and remind them that they are not alone.

One time, before a Farm Aid concert in Tinley Park, Ill., Willie and Neil Young wanted to know more about what was happening with farmers. When they heard that farmers were marching to oppose factory hog farms, Willie grabbed his hat and said, “They don’t need to be marching by themselves. I’m going to march with them.” Willie and Neil headed out of their buses and joined the farmers in protest. As they met with farmers and listened to their stories, the farmers’ faces showed gratitude: They were not alone.

That’s how Willie is. He gets off the bus and stands with his friends.

Last week, Willie received the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song, because he is a talented songwriter. We celebrate him, too because he is a tireless advocate for family farmers.

His commitment gives us hope for the future. With Willie Nelson beside us, we feel unstoppable.

Joe Schroeder is a Kentucky farmer and farm advocate. David Senter is a retired farmer from Texas and the former executive director of the American Agriculture Movement.

Farm Aid 2018 in Hartford, CT (September 22, 2018)

Friday, August 10th, 2018


Support your local farmers #FarmAid #NationalFarmersMarketWeek

Wednesday, August 8th, 2018

Farm Aid

Corey Maizel of Avant Gardens Farm & Mushroomery, in Youngstown, Ohio, says the face-to-face interactions he has with customers at farmers’ markets are vital. As he sees it, supporting local farmers is the best way for customers to get better produce into markets and stores, and ultimately to meet the needs of their community.

Put your money where your Farmer is (and shake the hand that feeds you)

Monday, August 6th, 2018


It’s National Farmers Market Week

Check out the facts in this “Put Your Money Where Your Farmer Is” infographic from @farmersarketcoalition



Farm Aid 2018 in Hartford, CT (9/22/2018)

Friday, August 3rd, 2018

Farm Aid 2018 (Hartford, CT) (September 22, 2018)

Thursday, August 2nd, 2018

Reasons Farm AId is like no other festival

Friday, July 27th, 2018
by:  Thom Duffy

The 31st annual Farm Aid concert, benefiting the nation’s family farmers, rolled into Bristow, Va., on Saturday, Sept. 17, 2016 with the organization’s guiding foursome — Willie Nelson, Neil Young, John Mellencamp and Dave Matthews — joined during the day-long festival at the Jiffy Lube Live amphitheater by Alabama Shakes, Sturgill Simpson, Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, Margo Price and others.

Also sharing the bill: Jamey Johnson, accompanied by Alison Krauss; Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real; Insects vs Roberts (featuring Micah Nelson); Ian Mellencamp (the nephew of John Mellencamp); the Wisdom Indian Dancers, and Star Swain.  Swain opened with her rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Her impromptu performance of the anthem at the Lincoln Memorial in June became a viral video, leading to her appearance at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia in July.

Saturday’s high-spirited show was an 11-hour celebration of American roots music — rock, country, folk, soul and R&B. It was carried live at and on the SiriusXM channel Willie’s Roadhouse. The back-to-back triple play of the hottest acts on this year’s bill — Rateliff, Simpson and Alabama Shakes — lent a strong blues and soul feel to the day.

As in previous years, Farm Aid 2016 was like no other festival you’ve ever seen. Here are 10 reasons why.

1. Farm Aid’s headliner is 83 years old — but you’d never know it.

It’s funny how time slips away. Willie Nelson turned 83 on April 29. To put that in perspective, consider that the oldest superstar headliner at the Desert Trip festival — dubbed “Old Chella” and taking place in Coachella, Calif., in October — is Bob Dylan, who is a mere 75. Nelson opened the afternoon set with his traditional singing of “The Lord’s Prayer” and closed the show after 11 p.m. with an all-star finale. From his nimble guitar solos on “Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground” (played on his battered six-string nicknamed Trigger) to his vocal romp through “Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die,” Nelson never sounded better.

2. This is the nation’s longest-running concert for a cause.

“This is number 31,” said Nelson. First staged on Sept. 22, 1985 in Champaign, Ill., in response to that era’s farm foreclosure crisis (and inspired by a remark made by Bob Dylan two months earlier during the Live Aid benefit for Africa famine relief), Farm Aid hasn’t stopped. The organization has raised more than $50 million to promote a strong and resilient family farm system of agriculture. While the annual concert draws the headlines, Farm Aid has a staff that works year-round to keep family farmers on their land, promote the Good Food movement and help shape government food policy. John Mellencamp said he recently was asked, “Farm Aid, you guys still doing that?” He replied, “You still eating?”

3. Farmers themselves are the opening act.

At an onstage press conference before the music began, farming activists from the region shared the spotlight with the musicians. Organizers of Appalachian Harvest described their efforts to build a family-farm-based economy as an alternative to tobacco and coal industries. A nurse practitioner from Charlottesville, Va., described how connecting patients to food from family farmers through the community group Local Food Hub helped battle diabetes and other health crises. Activists with Dreaming Out Loud in Washington, D.C. described how urban farms had become a tool for community organizing. Said Neil Young: “These people are the heroes. These people are warriors for tomorrow. This revolution starts with us. Try to make sure when you buy your food, you support the people who are growing it.”

4. Farm Aid moves to a new state every year — with a purpose.

Unlike destination festivals staged on established sites, Farm Aid takes place in a different region every year, allowing the organization to connect with farmers nationwide. The Jiffy Lube Live amphitheater, which most recently hosted Farm Aid in 2000, is some 40 miles west of Washington., D.C. The week before the concert, Farm Aid-affiliated groups teamed up with the National Farmers Union to fly in 275 farm families to the nation’s capital to press for emergency aid amid a new farming crisis of falling income and rising costs. “We know that they are hurting,” says Farm Aid executive director Carolyn Mugar. “They have been left behind by their elected officials often and exploited by corporations who have so much power over their markets.”

5. For Farm Aid performers, this cause is personal.

Dave Matthews described a recent encounter with the neighbor of a North Dakota farmer, who became sick with cancer. “Then Farm Aid came in and took care of him” with financial help, Matthews was told. Margo Price, whose debut solo album is titled Midwest Farmer’s Daughter, remembered when her father lost their family farm in Illinois, during the same foreclosure crisis of the `80s that led Nelson to launch Farm Aid. Jamey Johnson spoke of his realization that “the more time I spend in my grocery store looking for food from family farms, the less time I spend in my doctor’s office.” Nathaniel Rateliff, a native of Missouri, says he was very aware of Farm Aid from its start. “Everybody was losing their farm in our region when I was a kid.  Even up until 1997, I was working in a plastics factory with [Night Sweats bassist] Joseph Pope and there was an old man working with us, who had been a pig farmer. He said, `I’ll butcher and give you a pig for $80.’ The factory farms had overproduced so much pork that they’d driven the price down” and he lost his farm.

6. Pictures of pigs, potatoes and poultry.

And kale, tomatoes, tractors, silos, barns, windmills and more.  Among the most striking aspects of Farm Aid’s production is the spectacular farm-centered photography projected both behind the performers and on video screens.  The images this year, which powerfully complemented the performances, were the work of photographers Patty O’Brien, Molly M. Peterson, Lise Metzger and Sabine Carey.

7. The food at Farm Aid is Homegrown — with a capital H.

Homegrown Concessions — a registered trademark of Farm Aid — “is the way in which everybody who goes to a concert can eat healthy great food from family farmers,” says Farm Aid associate director Glenda Yoder. “This is our tenth year of doing this.  And we make it a deal point [with the venues] that all the food on the property comes from a family farm, is produced to an ecological standard, with a fair price to the producer.” A choice menu item: the pasture-raised pork chop sandwich from Missouri’s Patchwork Family Farms cooperative has been a staple at Farm Aid since 1999.

8. Homegrown Village makes Farm Aid feel like a revival meeting.

Longtime fans of Farm Aid come for more than the music. The event is an impassioned gathering for activists involved in environmental and social justice issues, as well as farming. At Homegrown Village, an assembly of tents to the side of the amphitheater, more than 35 exhibitors discussed issues and offered farming skill sessions. Among the organizations on site this year: Food and Water Watch, the American Farmland Trust, the National Young Farmers Coalition and the Farmer Veteran Coalition.

9. The community of Farm Aid musicians is a powerful thing.

Performers at Farm Aid donate their time and travel expenses, playing this festival for love, not money. (That helps the organization earn the highest rating from charity watchdog groups.) The affection among the four core activists was clear, for example, when Young embraced Nelson onstage after a duet on “Are There Any More Real Cowboys.” Others, like Jamey Johnson, return to the Farm Aid bill each September to support its cause and share in the community. Nelson’s finale, which flowed from the gospel hymn “I’ll Fly Away” to Hank Williams’ “I Saw The Light,” drew everyone back to the stage for a spirited closing to this year’s show.

10. Willie is always on their minds.

Let a farmer have the last word. Rhonda Perry and her husband Roger Allison, hailing from Howard County, Mo., are co-founders of the Missouri Rural Crisis Center and Patchwork Family Farms, a farming cooperative that Farm Aid funding helped establish. “We’ve been involved with Farm Aid since 1985,” says Perry. She recalled when her husband and Mugar traveled by train from a rally by farmers in Ames, Iowa, to the first Farm Aid concert in Champaign, Ill. “It was one of the darkest hours that we had seen in generations of farming,” she recalls. “And as the train was going down the tracks, there were farmers on the side of the road, with flags and signs that said, `Willie is our hope.’

“To be here now, all these years later,” says Perry, “with all this energy around food and around people who care about how their food is raised, it’s incredible.”

Bid on chance to win Willie Nelson Media Photo Pit Access and VIP Tickets to Sold-Out Farm Aid 2018 (Auction ends July 31)

Thursday, July 26th, 2018

Willie Nelson Media Photo Pit Access and VIP Tickets to Sold-Out Farm Aid 2018: In Hartford, Connecticut (1)


Get an extraordinary Farm Aid 2018 experience from the media photo pit with the American icon at this annual music festival organized to support America’s family farms.

Current Bid: US$1,500

Ends Jul 31st, 2018 at 2:00pm PT Add to Calendar


The Experience

Farm Aid 2018 offers a day of extraordinary music by Willie Nelson, Neil Young, John Mellencamp, Dave Matthews & Tim Reynolds, along with Chris Stapleton, Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, Sturgill Simpson, Kacey Musgraves, Margo Price, Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real, Particle Kid, and more on September 22 at XFINITY Theatre in Hartford, CT!  Farm Aid 2018 is an all-day festival of HOMEGROWN Food from family farmers and a HOMEGROWN Village of hands-on activities that celebrate the culture of agriculture.

IfOnly is giving you access to this sold-out event & inviting you to enjoy Willie Nelson’s set with an exclusive, close up experience from the photo pit, an area usually reserved for media and photographers. While the up-close view of one of music’s most charismatic performers might be considered worth the price of entry alone, this package offers so much more, including seats in the first 12 rows for the entire festival day and entrance to a VIP lounge with HOMEGROWN catering and access to private restrooms. This music experience with Willie and his friends benefits Farm Aid, an organization dedicated to keeping family farmers on the land.

Farm Aid 2018 in Hartford, CT (9/22/2018)

Friday, July 20th, 2018