Farm Aid was started in 1985 by Willie Nelson, Neil Young and John Mellencamp, and this year the group emphasized that young people need to get involved in agriculture. “We have to convince kids that the real future of America is to rebel, to be a farmer.” – Neil Young
Review/photos by Greg DeLucia
The 27th Farm Aid concert took place in Hershey, Pa. Saturday, September 22, 2012, in front of a sold-out crowd of more than 30,000 people. Farm Aid was started in 1985 by Willie Nelson, Neil Young and John Mellencamp, and this year the group emphasized that young people need to get involved in agriculture. The message was driven home by co-founder Neil Young at a pre-show news conference. Young stated, “We have to convince kids that the real future of America is to rebel, to be a farmer.”
In addition to the founders of Farm Aid, the 2012 line up featured Dale Watson, Animal Liberation Orchestra, Lukas Nelson and the Promise of the Real (led by Willie Nelson’s son), Pegi Young and the Survivors (led by Neil Young’s wife), Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, Jack Johnson, Kenny Chesney and Dave Matthews (who is a Farm Aid board member and been since 2001).
Farm Aid artists made guest performances on many of their fellow billed artists sets – Willie Nelson joined Grace Potter for a song, Grace joined Kenney Chesney for a duet on “You and Tequila,” Chesney joined John Mellencamp for a rendition of “Small Town,” Neil Young joined his wife on stage for a song and Lukas Nelson joined his father’s set for a few songs.
All Farm Aid performers played the show for free and provided their own transportation.
Concertgoers had the opportunity to experience local flavor at Farm Aid 2012. The concert event offered family farm-identified, local, and organic foods with Farm Aid’s signature HOMEGROWN Concessions®. Farm Aid’s HOMEGROWN Village featured hands-on activities that provided a chance to meet farmers and dig into the Good Food Movement by learning about the ways family farmers are enriching our soil, protecting our water, growing alternative fuels, and bringing us good food for good health. Grow Indie founder Robyn Jasko had a tent promoting her recently published book “Homesweet Homegrown.”
Farm Aid 2012 was sponsored by Giant Food Stores, Anvil Knitwear, Chipotle Mexican Grill, Horizon Organic, Weis Markets, Organic Valley, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream, Silk Soymilk, Amy’s Kitchen, Bell & Evans Air Chilled, Martin Guitar, Messina Wildlife PLOTSAVER and UNFI Foundation.
Farm Aid 2012
Photos by Greg DeLucia