For the upcoming 35th anniversary of Farm Aid, Willie Nelson announced that the annual festival would go virtual as Farm Aid 2020 On the Road.
This year, the pandemic seems to have laid waste not just to live music but also to one of the most basic support systems of our society: agriculture. Veteran musician Willie Nelson, however, is not backing down.
On September 1st, Farm Aid announced that its annual benefit concert — headlined by Willie Nelson, Neil Young, Dave Matthews, and John Mellencamp — would be organized as a free virtual event. Titled Farm Aid 2020 On The Road, the virtual festival will also mark Farm Aid’s 35th anniversary.
Nelson, who is a board member for the organization, said in a statement: “This pandemic and so many other challenges have revealed how essential family farmers and ranchers are to the future of our planet.
“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.” Nelson said.
“I think that [farmers] are at the heart of everything that human beings have. It seems all too often that the farmers are forgotten or they are voiceless and their struggles remain very often unheard,” Matthews explained. “And now is a time when farmworkers and farmers are struggling — in some ways more because of the crisis.”
Ahead of the September 26th virtual streaming event, Farm Aid 2020 On The Road has already announced a lineup of more than 20 musicians. Names include Willie Nelson and The Boys, John Mellencamp, Neil Young, and Dave Matthews, as well as Black Pumas, Bonnie Raitt and Boz Scaggs, and Edie Brickell with Charlie Sexton.
Also joining them are Brandi Carlile, Chris Stapleton, Jack Johnson, Jamey Johnson, Jon Batiste, Kelsey Waldon, Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real, Margo Price, Nathaniel Rateliff, Particle Kid, The Record Company, Valerie June, and The War And Treaty.