The email came from a man who I refer to as the head “Farm Aidian,” a group of Canadians who attend the Farm Aid concert each year. Paul Salden, the dude in charge, organizes a group of his employees and pays their way to the concert. They refer to it as the annual company retreat. As you can imagine, they’re a fun group. They load a bus up north of the border (Paul’s wife Renee got a special driving license for this purpose alone) and make their way to wherever the concert is that fall.
I reached out to Deb and Brian Leedom, two members of Farm Aid’s development advisory board who live in California. They are also incredibly generous supporters of Farm Aid’s work, and the kind of people that will drop everything for an opportunity like this.
When Deb and Brian contacted Paul to see what price he was asking for the pair of tickets, he asked instead that they give a gift to Farm Aid. In the age of ticket reselling, the fact that he was giving away two tickets in faith that they would pay it forward made my heart swell. He could have gotten a ridiculous amount of money for himself, and instead he thought of Farm Aid.
The incredible thing about our loyal fans is their commitment to us. This has meant the same people often sit in the same seats at our concert, year after year. They’ve come to at the very least recognize faces, and in some cases have even struck up lasting friendships or relationships! I’m still waiting on one pair’s engagement announcement.
When Deb and Brian met up with Paul and Rylee, they decided to make a night of it. The Leedoms took the Farm Aidians out to dinner, Hollywood style. When Deb called me Monday to tell me about the show, she could barely get her words out 48 hours later! “I COULD HAVE TOUCHED HIS FOOT!” she squealed.
L to R: Paul, Deb, Brian, Rylee
I’m so grateful that our “Four Guys,” as we call them, have attracted people like these folks to our work. Many people come for the music, initially. Then they are changed by hearing their favorite artists convey their passion about Farm Aid’s work to keep family farmers on the land. I am inspired by stories like this one, and so glad that our extended family members think of Farm Aid and want to do just a little bit more when they can.