Farm Aid 30: Willie Nelson, Neil Young Headline 30th Anniversary Show
Farm Aid is coming to Chicago. The annual event, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary, will be held on September 19th at FirstMerit Bank Pavilion at Northerly Island near downtown Chicago. In addition to board members Willie Nelson, Neil Young, John Mellencamp and Dave Matthews, the show will feature Jack Johnson, Imagine Dragons, Kacey Musgraves, Old Crow Medicine Show, Mavis Staples, Holly Williams, Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real, Insects vs. Robots and Blackwood Quartet.
“We organized the first Farm Aid concert in Illinois in 1985 to respond to the people suffering during the Farm Crisis,” Farm Aid President and Founder Willie Nelson said in a statement. “Thirty years later, in Chicago, we’ll bring together so many of the people — farmers, eaters, advocates and activists — who have made the progress of the Good Food Movement possible. At Farm Aid 30, we’ll celebrate the impact we’ve had and rally our supporters for the work ahead.”
“In 1985, alternatives didn’t exist for most farmers and people didn’t understand that there was a role for them in changing the system,” Farm Aid co-founder John Mellencamp said in a statement. “The Good Food Movement didn’t exist. People thought the farm crisis was a rural problem. But after that first concert, people listened. They realized that if we lost family farmers, we lost Main Street and we lost our food. They stood up with family farmers and now things are changing. We’ve got a lot more work to do, but the connection between rural and urban communities is more real and important to people.”
The first Farm Aid was held September 22nd, 1985 at Memorial Stadium in Champaign, Illinois. It has been held nearly every year since, raising $48 million for family farmers. Over the past 30 years, everyone from Phish to Elton John to Guns N’ Roses to Jerry Lee Lewis and the Allman Brothers have performed. Young played with Lukas and Micah Nelson at last year’s event at Walnut Creek Amphitheater in Raleigh, North Carolina, a spontaneous decision that led to him recording The Monsanto Years with them a few months later.
Tickets for this year’s Farm Aid — ranging in price from $49.50 to $189.50 — go on sale Monday, August 3rd at 10 a.m. CDT at FarmAid.org.