|Founded by||Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp and Neil Young|
Farm Aid is an annual benefit concert held for American farmers.
Farm Aid began on September 22, 1985, in Champaign, Illinois, to raise money for family farmers in the United States. The concert was organized by Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp and Neil Young, spurred on by Bob Dylan's comments at Live Aid earlier in that year that he hoped some of the money would help American farmers in danger of losing their farms through mortgage debt. The first concert was at University of Illinois' Memorial Stadium in Champaign on September 22 before a crowd of 80,000 people. Performers included Bob Dylan, Billy Joel, B.B. King, Roy Orbison, and Tom Petty, among others, and raised over $9 million for U.S. family farmers.
Willie and the other founders had originally thought that they could have one concert and the problem would be solved, but they admit that the challenges facing family farmers were more complex than anyone realized. As a result, decades after the first show, Farm Aid, under the direction of Carolyn Mugar, is still working to increase awareness of the importance of family farms, and puts on an annual concert of country, blues and rock music with a variety of music artists. The board of directors includes Nelson, Mellencamp, Young, and Dave Matthews, as well as David Anderson, Paul English, Joel Katz, Lana Nelson, Mark Rothbaum, and Evelyn Shriver.
The organization operates an emergency hotline that offers farmers resources and advice about challenges they're experiencing. Early on, Nelson and Mellencamp brought family farmers before Congress to testify about the state of family farming in America. Congress subsequently passed the Agricultural Credit Act of 1987 to help save family farms from foreclosure. Farm Aid also operates a disaster fund to help farmers who lose their belongings and crops through natural disasters, such as the victims of Hurricane Katrina and massive flooding in 2019. The funds raised are used to pay the farmer's expenses and provide food, legal and financial help, and psychological assistance.
The very first Farm Aid Radio Special was produced at Radio Station KUPI in 1985. The hour long special featured LeRoy Van Dyke, with 'Dakota Dave' Wayne as host and D.J. Willie Nelson supplied the recorded commercials for the special, advertising souvenirs for sale from the live concert. The special was the brain-child of country guitarist Bill Aken, who produced and directed the show from start to finish. It initially aired on Aken's radio show 'The Country Call Line' and was distributed nationally by Country Place Music.
The 2005 concert, marking the 20th anniversary of Farm Aid, took place at the Tweeter Center in Tinley Park, Illinois, with events in downtown Chicago as well. The 2007 Concert took place at Randall's Island in New York City (the first Farm Aid in New York) and was recorded in High Definition to be broadcast on HDNet as a 2 Hour Special highlighting many of the performances from the Allman Brothers and Counting Crows to John Mellencamp and Willie Nelson.
The September 2019 lineup includes Willie Nelson, Neil Young, John Mellencamp, Dave Matthews and country music star Luke Combs. The concert at Alpine Valley Music Theatre was Combs' first show at Farm Aid.
List of concerts
Board of directors
- Daniel Durchholz, Gary Graff. Neil Young: Long May You Run. Voyageur Press, 2010. p. 134.
- "Past Concerts – Farm Aid". Archived from the original on May 23, 2011. Retrieved May 24, 2011.
- "Farm Aid 1985 – Champaign, IL". The Concert Stage. The Concert Stage. Retrieved February 15, 2011.
- "Listen Up, Good Food Movement!". Farm Aid. 2015-05-20. Retrieved 2019-06-20.
- "Farm Aid: Saving the Family Farm". Hidden Kitchens. National Public Radio. November 23, 2006. Retrieved May 3, 2011.
- "'It Just Blows Your Mind': Midwest Farmers Suffer After Floods". www.governing.com. Retrieved 2020-03-02.
- "Tornadoes Devastate Southern Farmers – You Can Help". Farm Aid. Willie Nelson.com. May 2, 2011. Archived from the original on May 5, 2011.
- "Luke Combs added to Farm Aid 2019 lineup at Alpine Valley Music Theatre in Wisconsin". Journal Sentinel. USA Today. July 23, 2019. Retrieved July 28, 2019.
- I was there
- "Farm Aid 2012 Ticket Information". Farm Aid. Farm Aid.com. Archived from the original on October 6, 2012. Retrieved July 9, 2012.
- "The Farm Aid 2012 Lineup". Farm Aid. Farm Aid.com. Archived from the original on October 9, 2012. Retrieved July 9, 2012.
- "The Farm Aid 2013 Lineup". Farm Aid. Farm Aid.com. Retrieved September 21, 2013.
- "The Farm Aid 2014 Lineup". Farm Aid. Farm Aid.com. Retrieved July 25, 2014.
- "The Farm Aid 2015 Lineup". Farm Aid. Farm Aid.com. Retrieved August 11, 2015.
- "The Farm Aid Lineup". Farm Aid. FarmAid.com. Retrieved September 19, 2016.
- "The Farm Aid 2017 Lineup". Farm Aid. Farm Aid.com. Retrieved July 13, 2017.
- "The Farm Aid Lineup". Farm Aid. Retrieved 2019-09-25.
- "Watch 'At Home with Farm Aid' on Saturday, April 11". Farm Aid. April 8, 2020. Retrieved April 15, 2020.
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