Farm Aid’s annual music and food festival featuring family farmers, homegrown food, inspiring music and agrarian experiences will come to Connecticut for the first time on Saturday, Sept. 22, at XFINITY Theatre in Hartford, Connecticut. Tickets go on sale to the public on Friday, June 29, at 10 a.m. EDT.
Farm Aid 2018 will feature performances by Farm Aid board members Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp, Neil Young, and Dave Matthews with Tim Reynolds, as well as Chris Stapleton, Sturgill Simpson, Kacey Musgraves, Margo Price, Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real, and Particle Kid. Additional artists will be announced later this summer.
This year, the organization undertakes the planning of Farm Aid 2018 in an economic climate similar to the one that sparked the first Farm Aid concert. Net farm income has dropped 53 percent since 2013 and median farm income is expected to be -$1,316 in 2018. In New England alone, more than 10,000 family dairy farmers have gone out of business since 1970. Farmer stress is growing, and a 2016 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that the suicide rate for people working in agriculture, fishing and forestry is nearly five times that of the general population.
“Family farmers are the backbone of our country,” Farm Aid President and founder Willie Nelson said. “But today, they are endangered. Whether we live in cities like Hartford or the rural areas of New England, each of us has the power to create positive, lasting change in our farm and food system and strengthen farm families to help them stay on the land for generations to come.”
Connecticut agriculture ranks third in New England in farm sales, contributing up to $4 billion to the state’s economy. Farming and food production generate 21,000 jobs in Connecticut annually and provide environmental and social benefits that significantly enhance communities’ quality of life. Hartford County, where Farm Aid 2018 will take place, represents a rare bright spot in the country, having gained more than 100 farms since 2007.
Farm Aid 2018 festivalgoers will experience family farm agriculture firsthand via Farm Aid’s HOMEGROWN Concessions® and the HOMEGROWN Village. HOMEGROWN Concessions® showcases family farm-sourced ingredients at all food stands, including the HOMEGROWN Youthmarket, which sells fresh local fruit and more, and is operated by young people involved in farming and farmers markets. HOMEGROWN Concessions® includes recycling and composting (utilizing compostable serviceware and packaging) with a goal of zero waste. Farm Aid’s HOMEGROWN Village features hands-on activities about soil, water, energy, food and farming. Festivalgoers can hear farmers and artists discuss pressing issues and share inspiring stories on the FarmYard Stage and attend demonstrations to learn agrarian skills and celebrate the culture of agriculture in the HOMEGROWN Skills tent.
Tickets for Farm Aid 2018 will go on sale Friday, June 29, at 10 a.m. EDT. Ticket prices range from $54.50 to $279.50 and will be available for purchase at LiveNation.com and by phone at 800-745-3000. A limited number of pre-sale tickets will be sold beginning at 10 a.m. EDT on Tuesday, June 26, at farmaid.org/festival.
Farm Aid is teaming up with IfOnly to offer a collection of experiences that give fans once-in-a-lifetime memories at Farm Aid 2018, from behind-the-scenes tours to signed memorabilia from this year’s headliners. People can purchase and bid on these special offerings starting June 25 at www.ifonly.com/FarmAid.
For event updates, follow Farm Aid on Twitter (@FarmAid), Facebook (facebook.com/farmaid) and Instagram (instagram.com/farmaid), and visit farmaid.org/festival. Festivalgoers are encouraged to use the hashtags #FarmAid2018 and #Road2FarmAid to join the conversation on social media around this year’s festival.
Farm Aid 2018 sponsors include Bonterra Organic Vineyards, Patagonia Workwear, New Belgium Brewery, Horizon Organic and Pete and Gerry’s Organic. Farm Aid welcomes the participation of the business community and offers corporate sponsorship and VIP hospitality opportunities. For more information, contact Glenda Yoder at email@example.com.
Farm Aid’s mission is to build a vibrant, family farm-centered system of agriculture in America. Farm Aid artists and board members Willie Nelson, Neil Young, John Mellencamp and Dave Matthews host an annual festival to raise funds to support Farm Aid’s work with family farmers and to inspire people to choose family farm food. For more than 30 years, Farm Aid, with the support of the artists who contribute their performances each year, has raised more than $53 million to support programs that help farmers thrive, expand the reach of the Good Food Movement, take action to change the dominant system of industrial agriculture and promote food from family farms.
Jessica Blankenship is the owner and founder of Kentucky Country Music website. The Berea College graduate has been a music journalist and historian for over 20 years. She enjoys providing concert photography, reviews, historical articles, red carpet event coverage, and exclusive interviews of your favorite musicians. Jessica is proud to be a Kentucky Colonel and alumni of the FFA and 4-H Clubs. In 2018, she was named one of Laurel County’s Ten Under 40 Award Recipients. In 2019, she was a member of the Inaugural class of BRIGHT Kentucky as part of Leadership Kentucky. She has been featured on the Kentucky Music Preview podcast, Overtones radio show, WFKY Nashville News Roundup, KET, and more. Beyond music, she enjoys traveling, helping her community, collecting gnomes, and Volkswagens.