Farm Aid Tickets
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Details of Farm Aid and the Ticket Luck value
Farm Aid started as a benefit concert on September 22, 1985, in Champaign, Illinois, held to raise money for family farmers in the United States. The concert was organized by Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp and Neil Young, spurred on by Bob Dylan's comments at Live Aid earlier in that year.
(Dylan said, "I hope that some of the money...maybe they can just take a little bit of it, maybe...one or two million, maybe...and use it, say, to pay the mortgages on some of the farms and, the farmers here, owe to the banks....") Nelson and Mellencamp then brought family farmers before Congress to testify about the state of family farming in America. Congress subsequently passed the Agricultural Credit Act of 1987 to help save family farms from foreclosure.
Willie Nelson co-founder of Farm Aid.Today, Farm Aid is an organization that works to increase awareness of the importance of family farms, and puts on an annual concert of country, blues and rock music with a variety of stars. The board of directors includes Nelson, Mellencamp, Neil Young, and Dave Matthews. Young's speeches about the environment are a highlight of the annual shows.
The 2005 concert, marked the 20th anniversary of Farm Aid, took place at the Tweeter Center in Tinley Park, Illinois, with events in downtown Chicago as well.
In 1985, Bob Dylan stood before the crowd at Live Aid and made the case for family farmers in the United States. His simple statement that some of the money raised should go to help American family farmers avoid the looming foreclosure many were facing prompted music legends Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp, and Neil Young to stage a benefit concert the same year.
Twenty-one years later, Farm Aid's goal remains the same - advocating for the importance of family farms and encouraging consumers to create a demand for wholesome, responsibly-farmed food. At Farm Aid's 21st annual benefit concert in Camden, NJ, I had a chance to hear the message first-hand, and witnessed the behind-the-scenes effort it takes to put together a benefit concert this successful.
Farm Aid's labor and production is primarily donated. The event features a remarkable light show from Bandit Lights, a Knoxville, TN-based lighting design company. Bandit Lights designs an amazing custom lighting system for Farm Aid every year, the highlight of which is the custom-made Farm Aid circular logo above center stage.
Sound was provided by ShowCo, a Pennsylvania-based audio company. The centerpiece of front-of-house was the Midas Siena mixing console, running in a 21-bus configuration. Aside from the FOH audio, the Siena had separate feeds being sent into different parts of the venue. A mono feed was sent to the lawn delays as well as the house FM loop. A split from the direct outs on the Siena was sent to a multi-track recording system, provided by Westwood One Radio, for radio, television, and DVD release at a later date.
In addition, the Siena sent a feed to a separate mixing console located at FOH, where it was mixed with a time-aligned microphone feed of crowd noise. This feed was sent to both a multiplier box in the working press area and a production truck, where it was combined with a video feed for webcast and in-house monitoring.
With their innovative use of technology and spreading their message through the generous music community, Farm Aid's mission is simple: through promoting responsible use of American farmland and education of the consumer, we can live better with a higher level of food quality, and in the process help ailing family farms.
Keep America Growing:
This 25-track double disc effectively collects selections from 12 Farm Aid benefit concerts over a 15 year period from 1985-1999. There's a hefty selection from the organization's founders, with Willie Nelson (along with the Highwaymen), Neil Young, and John Mellencamp not surprisingly accounting for ten tracks. The rest is divvied up between a roster of country/roots artists that turn in workmanlike, but seldom revelatory performances of their hits, or near hits. It's tough to get excited hearing the Neville Brothers run through a by-the-numbers "Yellow Moon" or Willie Nelson sleepwalking through "City of New Orleans" for the umpteenth time, and even such luminaries as Los Lobos and Bonnie Raitt don't light any sparks. Only a few of the tracks like Neil Young and Crazy Horse lumbering through "Homegrown," Young's solo "Last of His Kind (The Farm Aid Song)," and Mellencamp's spirited "Rain on the Scarecrow" have even a vague connection to the plight of the American farmer, which is what the shows, the organization, and the proceeds of this disc go to benefit. The lack of sufficient annotation for each track is also problematic. The Beach Boys meander through an unspectacular version of "God Only Knows" from 1996, yet it isn't obvious who was in this version of the ever-changing group. Other than the star, individual credits for the bands are missing, which is a frustrating oversight. Some artists click with roughed-up versions of their tunes; Trisha Yearwood digs into "Wrong Side of Memphis" with a greasy charm at odds with her clean-cut image, and Susan Tedeschi tears through "It Hurt So Bad" leaving the album version in the dust.
The tracks are seemingly chosen to not offend the Americana audience who the disc is obviously intended for, which makes for a pleasant flow, but omits more alternative artists like Iggy Pop and the Pretenders who also participated in various shows. And where's Bob Dylan who birthed the Farm Aid concept with his comments at Live Aid? Far from a failure, Farm Aid; Vol. 1 is a respectable but safe and ultimately disappointing overview of the show's history, which, since it generates money for its worthwhile cause, is still a valuable addition to your collection. One can't help but wonder how many great performances are still left in the vault, so hopefully future editions will dig a little deeper and present edgier acts with a more unique song selection.
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