Friday, August 12, 2022

Willie Nelson’s Farm Aid returns to NC this fall, sans Neil Young

Nelson will return to Raleigh on Sept. 24 to host Farm Aid with John Mellencamp, Margo Price, Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds, among others. (Port City Daily/File)

It started in 1985 to raise awareness and money to prevent American small farms from being auctioned off to corporations and big business. Almost 40 years later, Farm Aid has grown into a network of support to showcase the resilience of local farmers and sustainability of the slow food movement. To date, Farm Aid has raised over $64 million to keep families farming their land.

On Sept. 24, the annual festival will get underway in Raleigh at Coastal Credit Union Music Park at Walnut Creek. It will feature its headliners and board members, Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp, Margo Price and Dave Matthews, who will be joined by Tim Reynolds. Founding member Neil Young is not on the bill this year — nor was he last year — citing concerns over Covid-19.

The lineup in 2022 also consists of Chris Stapleton, Sheryl Crow, Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats, Lukas Nelson and Promise of the Real, Allison Russell, Charley Crockett, Brittney Spencer and Particle Kid.

The all-day event — last held in Raleigh in 2014 — features Homegrown Concessions, vendors selling food grown or cattle raised on nearby land. Farmers are paid a fair price for the goods as well.

“I’ve always said that family farmers strengthen us all,” Nelson said in a statement.

Areas farmers will take part in various workshops, lectures, and hands-on activities, often centered on sustainable practices. The theme for 2022 will be how they are mitigating climate change, which Farm Aid notes especially affects rural communities and communities of color.

Some techniques farmers already implement include planting crops to cover soil between growing seasons, rotating crops, reducing soil tillage, integrating livestock and crop production, raising pastured livestock, and improving soil and water management.

“Farmers in North Carolina, across the Southeast, and all over the country are growing solutions to our toughest challenges, including climate change,” Nelson added. “We’re bringing Farm Aid here to highlight their hard work and celebrate the ways we can all join farmers to help.”

According to a release from Farm Aid, North Carolina benefits by over $90 billion funneled into its economy via agriculture, making up 17% of the workforce. According to the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, there are over 50,000 farms in the state across 8.5 million acres of land.

Tickets to Farm Aid are priced from $75 to $315 and go on sale Saturday, 10 a.m.

A limited number of pre-sale tickets will be available at 10 a.m. Wednesday, July 27, at

Farm Aid also will air live on the organization’s Facebook, Twitter and TikTok pages, as well as its website and YouTube channel.

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Shea Carver
Shea Carver is the editor in chief at Port City Daily. A UNCW alumna, Shea worked in the print media business in Wilmington for 22 years before joining the PCD team in October 2020. She specializes in arts coverage — music, film, literature, theatre — the dining scene, and can often be tapped on where to go, what to do and who to see in Wilmington. When she isn’t hanging with her pup, Shadow Wolf, tending the garden or spinning vinyl, she’s attending concerts and live theater.

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