Rhino Historic Tours: Farm Aid
30 years ago today, John Mellencamp, Willie Nelson, and Neil Young took an offhanded comment made by Bob Dylan during Live Aid and brought to fruition the first in a series of concerts to help American farmers maintain their farms during times of economic hardship.
The first Farm Aid concert took place on September 22, 1985, at the University of Illinois' Memorial Stadium, in Champaign, Illinois. 80,000 concertgoers thrilled to performances by some of country music's biggest names, as you might expect from an event intended to benefit the American farmer, but it wasn't all country folk: the non-country contingent included - among others - Bon Jovi, Foreigner, Lou Reed, The Beach Boys, X, and Billy Joel, not to mention the aforementioned trio of organizers as well as the man who inspired them to put together the event in the first place.
There hasn't been a Farm Aid every year since '85 - for one reason or another, they didn't hold one in 1988 or 1991 - but all of the other years involved a concert, and they've been held in a number of different states, including Louisiana, Kentucky, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Nebraska, Kansas, New Jersey, Missouri…you get the idea: if you can farm there, there's no reason they can't pay tribute to farmers there.
In celebration of the 30th anniversary of Farm Aid, we've put together a playlist that features some of the songs played by some of the Rhino artists who performed that day. Give it a spin, and don't forget: FarmAid.org is still a going concern, and they'll gladly take all of the donations they can get, so consider making one, won't you?