Farm Aid is lucky to have been invited by Willie and Annie Nelson to host an event at their ranch outside of Austin, Texas. An Evening with Farm Aid at Luck paid tribute to Luck, a fictional western town on Willie’s ranch, and raised funds to support Farm Aid’s work for family farmers. Luck was constructed in the mid-1980s as a set for the film adaptation of Willie’s 1975 album The Red Headed Stranger, and has been given new life in recent years, emerging as the site of the Luck Reunion, an incredible music festival that takes place each March.
An Evening with Farm Aid at Luck kicked off with an energy-packed set by Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real. Willie’s rescued horses grazed in the field behind the stage as Lukas and company ripped through their hits. As the sun set, Willie and Annie and our guests gathered under a large tent in the center of Luck. The tables were set beautifully, designed by our friends at Patina Green with hand-drawn table runners by artist Katherine Keller featuring vegetables, farm animals and inspiring messages about food and farming, and local, farm-fresh flower bouquets from Prickly Pair Farms.
Farm Aid’s Carolyn Mugar welcomed guests and gave thanks for the farmers who raised the food we would enjoy. Carolyn introduced honored guest Bill Witliff, the Austin filmmaker who directed The Red Headed Stranger and wrote and directed the 1984 film Country, which compellingly told the story of the 1980s Farm Crisis that inspired Farm Aid. Carolyn also introduced Austin’s Jim Hightower, former Texas agriculture commissioner, author, activist and storyteller, who shared his thoughts about Farm Aid with the crowd of nearly 250. Everyone gathered joined Hightower in making a toast to Willie for stepping up for family farmers—in 1985 and right up to today.
Then we ate the most creative meal, sourced from local farmers, of course. Our team of chefs inspired raucous dinner conversation with an incredible dinner delivered in compostable takeout boxes that encouraged sharing and passing. During dinner, two guitars, donated by Gibson and Epiphone and autographed by Willie Nelson, Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, and Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real, were auctioned, with the proceeds supporting the work of Farm Aid to keep family farmers thriving.
After dinner, we moved back to the music tent, picking up our carrot cake ice cream sandwich dessert along the way. Next up: a set from Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats before the main event: Willie Nelson & Family. As always, Willie was joined by his sons Micah and Lukas Nelson, and Nathaniel Rateliff joined in for some songs, too!
We are so grateful to the support of our hosts: Willie and Annie Nelson; our artists: Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real, Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, and Willie Nelson & Family; our all-around-everything team from Patina Green Home & Market, led by Kaci Lyford; our Texas chefs: Robert Lyford of Patina Green, Ben Runkel of Salt & Time, Diego Galicia & Rico Torres of Mixtli, Dan Casey of Royal Fig Catering and Rebecca Masson of Fluff Bake Bar; our generous event supporters: Jennie Garlington, Bonterra Organic Vineyards, BMI, New Belgium Brewing and Willie’s Reserve; our product donors: Farmhouse Delivery, Still Austin, Black Eyed Distilling, Mountain Valley Spring Water, Jester King Brewery and Royal Fig Catering; our photographers: Suzanne Cordeiro and Rett Rogers; and everyone who helped make An Evening with Farm Aid in Luck possible. Good food from family farmers, good music, and good friendship – it’s what it’s all about. As Willie says, “You’re either in Luck or you’re outta Luck.” We are so glad Farm Aid was in Luck last week.
We hope to see you at a future Farm Aid event! Until then, we invite you to learn more about and support our work to keep family farmers on the land and thriving.