Willie Nelson, Neil Young and John Mellencamp organized the first Farm Aid concert in 1985 to raise awareness about the loss of family farms and to raise funds to keep farm families on the land. Dave Matthews joined the Farm Aid Board of Directors in 2001. Farm Aid has raised $48 million to promote a strong and resilient family farm system of agriculture. Farm Aid is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to keep family farmers on the land. Farm Aid accomplishes this mission by: Promoting Food from Family Farms, Growing the Good Food Movement, Helping Farmers Thrive and Taking Action to Change the System.
The message from Farm Aid 30 rang loud and clear at the FirstMerit Bank Pavilion at Northerly Island in Chicago. Farm Aid’s 30th anniversary concert brought thousands together to celebrate the progress that has been made for family farmers since 1985 and to emphasize the importance of the Good Food Movement. At the concert, Farm Aid reaffirmed its commitment to creating a future of family farm agriculture. The day-long festival kicked off with farmers, farm advocates and eaters joining Farm Aid board members Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp, Dave Matthews and Neil Young in a conversation from the Farm Aid stage about the roots of the family farm movement and the future of family farm agriculture. The conversation focused on the many actions people have taken in fields, kitchens and communities since 1985 and how those actions have added up to make a huge difference for family farmers and the food system.
Performers on stage were: Blackwood Quartet, Ian Mellencamp(nephew of John Mellencamp), Insects vs. Robots(featuring Micah Nelson, son of Willie Nelson), Holly Williams(daughter of Hank Williams, Jr.), Lukas Nelson(son of Willie Nelson), Old Crow Medicine Show, Jamey Johnson, Kacey Musgraves, Jack Johnson, Mavis Staples, Imagine Dragons, Dave Matthews, John Mellencamp, Neil Young and closing out was Willie Nelson and Family.