Farm Aid is going back to its roots. For the 20th anniversary edition of the benefit for American family farms, organizers are planning a show in Illinois, where the first Farm Aid launched in 1985. Headlined by co-founders Willie Nelson and John Mellencamp, this year's show will feature sets from Neil Young, Dave Matthews, Wilco and more acts to be named soon.
The show, set for September 18 at the Tweeter Center in Tinley Park, Illinois, will be preceded by a week's worth of food and music events in Chicago that organizers said will showcase the city's efforts to "promote family-farm food by linking rural and urban communities." The events will include a county fair on September 17, a film festival, some small venue shows and the release of the Farm Aid book, "Farm Aid: A Song for America."
"From small towns to folks in the city, everybody knows family-farm food is the best," Farm Aid President Nelson said in a statement. "It's good to be back in Illinois where it all started. This state is showing how good food can connect places like [the site of the original 1985 show] Champaign and Chicago. It inspires us to think about family farmers every day. I'm looking forward to playing on the Farm Aid stage, playing music with my friends."
"Farmers have a tremendous impact on the quality of food that we eat," Mellencamp said. "Farm Aid is always a great show, but even more important is that Farm Aid helps the consumer and the family farmer work together for the benefit of all of us."
To date, the 17 Farm Aid shows have raised more than $27 million in support of family farms, according to organizers.