Why Farm Aid Still Matters

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Farm Aid

This year marks the 30th Anniversary of Farm Aid, the concert event that was started in 1985 by the likes of John Mellencamp, Willie Nelson, and Neil Young after Bob Dylan quipped at Live Aid that he hoped some proceeds might help American farms in debt. That first year, acts as huge and disparate as Billy Joel, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, The Beach Boys, Lou Reed, Merle Haggard, and others joined in to help raise money and awareness of the plight of family farms in the U.S. Van Halen even took the opportunity to debut Sammy Hagar as their new lead singer, and the event has been going strong ever since. In 1989, Farm Aid president and your favorite marijuana advocate, Willie Nelson, took the show on the road and hit 16 different dates to improve outreach.


A few weeks ago I covered just a few of the instances where an artist's behavior ruined a concert for their fans. Of course, terrible concerts tend to be few and far between. Most go off without a hitch and people have a good time. Occasionally, though, the artist or band does something that makes the show extra special, either for a specific fan or the audience as a whole.

Dave Matthews

File this one under "good things come to those who help others," especially when your assistance goes to the guy you're driving to see. Last month singer Dave Matthews was out riding before a concert in Hershey, PA, without a cell phone when the bike developed a flat tire. Emily Kaus, a Dave Matthews Band fan who was heading to the very same concert, and her boyfriend, stopped to help and discovered the subject of their rescue was none other than Matthews himself. So Matthews hitched a ride to the venue with Kaus and boyfriend. The two ended up having dinner with Matthews, and received a backstage visit and front-row seats at the show.