For its 20th anniversary concert, Farm Aid will return to Illinois, the state where Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp and Neil Young staged the first event in 1985. The 2005 show, set for Sept. 18 at the Tweeter Center in Tinley Park, will feature the three founders and Dave Matthews, who joined the Farm Aid board in 2001, along with a slate of additional artists yet to be announced.
“From small towns to folks in the city, everybody knows family farm food is the best,” says Nelson, who is the president of the Farm Aid organization. “It’s good to be back in Illinois where it all started. This state is showing how good food can connect places like Champaign and Chicago. It inspires us to think about family farmers every day. I’m looking forward to playing on the Farm Aid stage, playing music with my friends.”
Tickets for the event, presented for the third consecutive year by Silk Soymilk, go on sale July 30 via Ticketmaster outlets and the venue box office. Advance tickets will be available to members of the FarmYard, a fan organization that offers year-round access to artist content and other information and perks through the Farm Aid Web site.
Nelson, Mellencamp and Young hosted the first Farm Aid concert in Champaign, Ill., after Nelson was inspired by comments made by Bob Dylan at that year’s Live Aid concert for Africa in Philadelphia. Since then, the organization has raised more than $27 million and worked to strengthen the family farm system through grants, public education and representation to lawmakers in Washington, D.C.
“Farmers have a tremendous impact on the quality of food that we eat,” Mellencamp says. “Farm Aid is always a great show, but even more important is that Farm Aid helps the consumer and the family farmer work together for the benefit of all of us.”