Farm Aid is a benefit concert held annually to raise funds for family farmers in the United States. It is an all-day event featuring some of the biggest names in music, great food and lots of other entertainment options.
The first event was held in Champaign, Illinois in 1985 and was a resounding success. It was founded by John Mellencamp, Neil Young, and Willie Nelson. The money that was raised went towards helping farmers with mortgage debt, who were on the verge of losing their farms. In addition to the concert, an hour-long Farm Aid Radio Special featuring some incredible musical acts was produced at Radio Station KUPI.
Over the years, the festival has been held in locations like Manor, Lincoln, New Orleans, Bristow, Indianapolis, Burgettstown, and Columbus. The 2005 concert marked the 20th anniversary of the event and took place in Tweeter Center in Tinley Park, Illinois, and Farm Aid 30 was held in Chicago.
Part performers include Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp, Neil Young, Alabama Shakes, Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real, Sheryl Crow, Blackberry Smoke, and Valerie June. Every year the festival organizers tie-up with family farmers to provide delicious food made with local, organic ingredients to attendees.
You can choose from either general admission or VIP tickets. Nabbing passes when they go on pre-sale can help you save a lot of money (toward your favorite souvenir). Information on pricing will be updated on the official website a few months before the festival date. A good portion of Farm Aid ticket sales goes toward helping family farmers fight to stay on their land.
Farm Aid takes place at a different venue every year. If you plan on driving an RV to a campsite nearby, ensure that you read up on traffic rules of the state and check the flow of traffic regularly. Since many of the venue locations are in larger cities, motorists will want to consider travel times and keep a full tank in case roadways are crowded.
It’s a good idea to park your car or RV at your campsite and get to the venue using public transport. Free parking near the festival venue will likely be limited and challenging to find. Look to buy a paid parking spot close to the site a few months in advance if possible, especially if you will need to park your rig away from your campsite.
Taking public transport is often the best way to get to a venue, especially in the bigger cities. A free shuttle may also be available from different parts of the city to the festival site. You may also want to check if the venue is near a bus or train stop. Another option may also be to use a rideshare app or take a taxi.
Farm Aid venues are not known to support camping, so it’s a good idea to book a spot at a campsite or RV park nearby in advance.
You’re bound to find a campground a short drive away from the venue where you can park your RV. The facilities and amenities can vary greatly from one campsite to another. So be sure to check what local campgrounds offer before booking your spot. You can also check where other festival-goers are camping and coordinate your stay and travel with them.
The best way to get around the venue is on foot. Bicycles, scooters or other personal motorized vehicles are not generally allowed. Special arrangements can be made to help guests with disabilities. Requests related to getting around the venue can be made by contacting the organizers in advance.
The vibe is very casual, and you can’t go wrong with shorts or jeans and a t-shirt. Wear lightweight, breathable clothing and put on a pair of comfortable shoes since you’re likely to be on your feet all day. Guests can also support a good cause by purchasing and sporting official Farm Aid merchandise at the venue.
Carry a small bag with everything you need to stay comfortable throughout the day. Some items that can come in handy are sunscreen, bug spray, a portable charger, binoculars, a blanket, and a hat. Make sure any sunscreen or bug spray you’re carrying is not in aerosol form, and that guidelines for entering the festival are reviewed in advance.
Protect yourself from the sun by putting on sunscreen and a hat. Free water refill stations will be present all over the venue, and various beverages will be available for sale. This community-oriented event maintains a focus on helping individuals on many levels. In keeping with the theme of the event, organizers encourage guests to help one another out when needed during the festivities. Illegal drugs or weapons of any kind are prohibited on site at Farm Aid.
Cooking on the festival grounds will not be permitted. You can cook on the stove in your RV if you’re parked at a campground or RV park. But they may have certain restrictions when it comes to open fires and barbecues. If you’d prefer to cook your own meals and snacks, it’s a good idea to check what’s allowed in advance.
In recent years there has been a culinary explosion in cities all over the United States. Whichever part of the country Farm Aid lands in during your travels, you will find something delicious to eat. Restaurants and chefs have really upped their game and are experimenting with different cuisines. So take some time to try some of the restaurants nearby and sample the local food.
Every year the festival features its Homegrown Concessions. This is a unique concept that involves serving food made from family farm-identified, local, and organic ingredients. It has become a model for other major concert events. Special attention is paid to the food and beverages on offer at the venue, and attendees can expect to have plenty of tasty treats and meal options.
There will be several security measures in place to provide a safe environment for festival attendees. Security personnel will be present at the entrances and remain on site to help as needed. All bags will be checked upon entry. Remember to check the Farm Aid website for regulations each year since the venue changes.
Farm Aid organizers take the weather conditions at the venue into account before deciding on the dates of the event. However, conditions can be unpredictable, so stay prepared and bring a jacket or rain poncho. Suitable evacuation measures are in place in case adverse weather does occur.
A medical hub or tent will be set up at each venue, and EMTs will make rounds frequently. You can flag them down in case you or someone you know needs assistance. If you need to bring any medication or equipment with you into the venue, be sure to inquire about regulations before arriving.