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Willie Nelson Leads Farm Aid TV Special With Alabama Shakes, John Mellencamp and Nathaniel Rateliff

Willie Nelson performs at Farm Aid at Jiffy Lube Live in Bristow, Virginia on Sept. 17, 2016.
Ebet Roberts/Redferns

Willie Nelson performs at Farm Aid at Jiffy Lube Live in Bristow, Virginia on Sept. 17, 2016. 

The approach of spring brings festival-planning by music fans and crop-sowing by farmers —both activities called to mind by the premier broadcast of the 2016 Farm Aid concert Sunday at 10 p.m. ET on AXS TV, featuring Willie Nelson, Neil Young, John Mellencamp, Dave Matthews, Alabama Shakes, Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats and others.

Prior to the Farm Aid broadcast, AXS TV at 9 p.m. Sunday will feature Farm Aid co-founder Mellencamp on Rock and Roll Road Trip With Sammy Hagar, from Mellencamp's art studio in his hometown of Bloomington, Indiana. Mellencamp will discuss his painting, his music career, his involvement with Farm Aid and his upcoming Sad Clowns & Hillbillies Tour. The tour opens June 5 in Denver.

The Farm Aid special was filmed at the Jiffy Lube Live amphitheater in Bristow, Virginia, on Sept. 17, and also features Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real, Margo Price, and Jamey Johnson with Alison Krauss. 

First staged by Nelson and friends in 1985 in response to that era's farm foreclosure crisis, Farm Aid is the music industry's longest-running concert for a cause.  During the past three decades, the organization has raised more than $50 million to promote a strong and resilient family farm system of agriculture.

While the annual concert draws the headlines, Farm Aid has a staff that works year-round to keep family farmers on their land, promote the Good Food movement and help shape government food policy. Before the Bristow concert, Mellencamp said he was asked, “Farm Aid, you guys still doing that?” He replied, “You still eating?”

Mellencamp will join Hagar to talk and jam for the third episode in the second season of Rock & Roll Road Trip on AXS.   Previous shows in this season have featured Hagar's encounters with James Hetfield, Joe Satriani, John Mayer, Melissa Etheridge and Toby Keith.

AXS TV is a television network featuring music programming and festivals, comedy performances, current events and mixed martial arts promotions. The network is a partnership between founder Mark Cuban, AEG, Ryan Seacrest Media, Creative Artists Agency (CAA) and CBS.

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