“We need to help farmers,” — Willie Nelson


This week marks the anniversary of the inaugural Farm Aid, the concert benefitting struggling farmers across the country. And over 30 years since that first festival, its co-founder Willie Nelson remains just as passionate about the cause.

“When we decided to do the first Farm Aid, the first person I called was Neil Young, asked him if he wanted to come play, [he said], ‘sure.’ John Mellencamp: ‘Sure.’ Everybody that I asked said sure,” Nelson said regarding the first Farm Aid back in 1985. “Musicians know more about what’s going on out there than anybody else, they realize the farmers were in trouble.”

The inaugural Farm Aid succeeded in raising awareness and generating support for struggling American farmers. In the decades since, a diverse range of rockers have taken the Farm Aid stage, with none of them earning any money for their performances.

“Thousands of musicians… over 30 years have played Farm Aid for not one red nickel did they get,” Nelson said. “They pay their own way, pay their own hotel bills, just to show their appreciation for the small family farmer.”

You can watch the full conversation with Willie Nelson on The Big Interview with Dan Rather, available now on the AXS TV website, mobile app, and ConnectedTV platforms.

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