Farm Aid, in 35th Year, Sets Virtual Festival For 2020

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Farm Aid has announced that the organization will mark its 35th anniversary with a virtual at-home festival experience. Farm Aid 2020 On the Road, scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 26, at 8 p.m. EDT, will include performances from more than 20 artists, led by its board members Willie Nelson and The Boys, John Mellencamp, Neil Young, and Dave Matthews.

The 3-hour event will be streamed, at no cost to viewers, at FarmAid.org, on Farm Aid’s YouTube channel, and at Fans.com. The exclusive television broadcast will be via AXS TV.

Farm Aid 2020 On the Road artists also include Bonnie Raitt and Boz Scaggs, Edie Brickell with Charlie Sexton, Norah Jones, Brandi Carlile, Chris Stapleton, Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real, Margo Price, Nathaniel Rateliff, Particle Kid, Jack Johnson, Black Pumas, Jamey Johnson, Jon Batiste, Kelsey Waldon, The Record Company, Valerie June, and The War And Treaty.

Willie Nelson & Family performs at Farm Aid 2018. Photo © Brian Bruner / Bruner Photo

“This pandemic and so many other challenges have revealed how essential family farmers and ranchers are to the future of our planet,” said Farm Aid President and founder Willie Nelson in the Sept. 1 announcement. “Farm Aid 2020 is going to give the whole country a chance to learn about the important work of farmers and how they’re contributing to our well-being, beyond bringing us good food.”

Watch Willie Nelson & Family perform at Farm Aid 2019

From the announcement: Farm Aid’s 35th anniversary comes at a time of unprecedented uncertainty, suffering and upheaval in our country. The COVID-19 pandemic, economic stress and the racial justice movement are urgent concerns that all of us share. The impacts of COVID-19 have revealed the fragility and injustice in our food system. As a result of the compounding challenges family farmers face, thousands are at risk of going under. There is now even more urgency and a critical need for a national response to keep family farmers on the land.

The virtual festival will also showcase stories from farmers from across the country who were invited to share why they farm, how they manage to stay resilient, and their vision of the future of agriculture.

Watch Neil Young & Promise of the Real perform at Farm Aid 2019

Farm Aid will again offer exclusive trips and artist-signed memorabilia, including a number of “from the vault” guitars and prints from previous Farm Aid festivals, for auction. The online silent auction will launch the morning of the festival, Sat., Sept. 26, and close on Friday, Oct. 9, with proceeds to benefit the organization.

The goal of the virtual festival is to raise critical funds for and awareness of the organization and its mission, which it typically does through ticket sales to the annual in-person music and food festival. Farm Aid accepts donations year-round at farmaid.org/donate.

Related: Our recap of the first Farm Aid in 1985

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