Farm Aid’s 2014 concert will be held in Raleigh, North Carolina at Walnut Creek Amphitheatre on Sept. 13. North Carolina is the 19th state to host the annual Farm Aid concert.
The lineup this year will include the four board members: Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp, Neil Young, and Dave Matthews (with Tim Reynolds). The additional performers this year are: Jack White, Jamey Johnson, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Delta Rae, Carlene Carter, Pegi Young and the Survivors, Lukas Nelson and Promise of the Real, and Robots vs Insects.
The concert is an all day affair with many exhibits demonstrating various aspects of family farming in the United States. This is the year’s biggest fundraiser for the organization that helps farmers during their hour of need. Over the years, Farm Aid has raised more than $45 million for family farmers with benefit concerts almost every year, pulling everyone from Lou Reed to Julio Iglesias onstage. Dylan, Kenny Chesney, Johnny Cash, Tom Petty and Paul Simon are among the many acts to play Farm Aid shows in the past.
Mellencamp, a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, actually let the news drop informally last December at ceremonies for the Peach Bowl football game in Atlanta. “The good news is we’re bringing Farm Aid to Durham,” said Mellencamp, whose son, Hud, is a member of Duke’s football team. He had the state right, but not the city.
Farm Aid has shifted its focus toward building awareness about locally sourced produce verses factory-farm food. There have been so many pesticides, chemicals and things to enhance production on factory farms that we have to identify real food as ‘organic’ now. Last year, in Saratoga Springs, NY, there was a large anti-fracking presence at the show. Fracking is also an issue in North Carolina that raises public health concerns there as well.
One of the local groups that will benefit from Farm Aid coming to Raleigh is the Rural Advancement Foundation International. A Pittsboro-based nonprofit that works with small farms on sustainability issues, RAFI has been one of Farm Aid’s partners since the very first event in 1985.
The concert is always a winner and there are many surprises during the show. Last year, Pete Seeger made a surprise appearance and led the crowd singing “This land Is Your Land.” Click here for ticket info. In essence, supporting Farm Aid supports ourselves.