Saturday's concert marks the 30th anniversary of Farm Aid: A Concert for America, which drew a crowd of 80,000 at Memorial Stadium in Champaign, Ill. on Sept. 22, 1985. Nearly 500 artists have performed at concerts held mostly across the Midwest and along the East Coast nearly every year since (there were no concerts in 1988 and 1991), raising $48 million in the process. See our map charting 30 years of concerts, below.
This year's lineup includes Farm Aid board members Willie Nelson, Neil Young, John Mellencamp, and Dave Matthews – the board's powerhouse musicians always headline at the concert – along with Tim Reynolds, Imagine Dragons, and Chicago heavyweight Mavis Staples, among others.
10:45 p.m.: Willie Nelson
9:45 p.m.: Neil Young
8:45 p.m.: John Mellencamp
7:45 p.m.: Dave Matthews with Tim Reynolds
6:45 p.m.: Imagine Dragons
5:55 p.m.: Mavis Staples
5:05 p.m.: Jack Johnson
4:20 p.m.: Kacey Musgraves
3:40 p.m.: Jamey Johnson
3:00 p.m.: Old Crow Medicine Show
2:30 p.m.: Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real
2:00 p.m.: Holly Williams
1:35 p.m.: Insects vs Robots
1:10 p.m.: Ian Mellencamp
12:50 p.m.: Blackwood Quartet
More than music
The daylong event is expected to draw 26,000 people to Northerly Island. In addition to music, here's what else you can expect:
- Better-than-usual fest food: Farm-sourced entrees such as pizza topped with local produce and pasture-raised turkey legs, plus snacky baked goods, ice cream and fair-trade chocolate, and more healthy items like apples, grapes and other fruits. Craft beer and organic wine will be available.
- Activities: Homegrown Village (open from noon-5:30 p.m.) features hands-on activities like creating seed balls and painting murals, but also the chance to meet farmers and learn how family farms operate. A skills tent features workshops on how to make kimchi, culture kefir, churn butter and more. (Who doesn't secretly want to try their hand at churning butter?)
Tickets: $49.50-$189.50 (additional fees apply). Order online at LiveNation.com, or call 1-800-745-3000.
Livestream: Watch Farm Aid live via www.farmaid.org from 2:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m.
Getting there: Use this link and plug in your address to find out how to get to Northerly Island using public transportation.
What your money does:
Proceeds from the concert and other donations support the organization's farm-focused initiatives and programs, such as the Farmer Resource Network, providing information and a range of support services – such as financial counseling and legal help – to farmers via web, phone and email. Farm Aid also runs a disaster fund, annual grant program, and the community site homegrown.org, where you can find tips on growing food, cooking, crafting and other DIY projects.
In a news release issued by Farm Aid in July, president and founder Willie Nelson stated the following:
“We organized the first Farm Aid concert in Illinois in 1985 to respond to the people suffering during the Farm Crisis. Thirty years later, in Chicago, we’ll bring together so many of the people — farmers, eaters, advocates and activists — who have made the progress of the Good Food Movement possible. At Farm Aid 30, we’ll celebrate the impact we’ve had and rally our supporters for the work ahead.”
Watch Willie Nelson perform On the Road Again at the 1985 concert in the video below.