Each one of us who works for Farm Aid has different responsibilities at the concert. Laura manages volunteers. Ted & Mark run the press events. Jen oversees artist relations and all ticketing issues. Carolyn and Glenda troubleshoot and work with production folks and visit with each artist as they arrive. Wendy manages the webcast and blog and Jeni manages the website. And I make sure people are having a great time. I guess that makes me sort of like Julie the Cruise Director on The Love Boat, except I rarely tell people about the shuffleboard games on the Lido deck.
If you are a FarmYard member, I will know where you are sitting. I will also know everyone in the 1st and 2nd rows and sometimes I visit to say hello.
I love talking to all the Farm Aid fans, but my favorite place to visit happens to be the front row. I’ve become friends with some of the regulars and the concert is really the only time I get to see them.
There is Lee Ann, who rode her motorcycle from N.C. to Seattle for Farm Aid 2004. There is Rich, who emails me photos of the beautiful Alaskan countryside and his awesome dog, Pandu. There are Edie and Candy who NEVER miss a concert. And there are many more.
Of course, I also love visiting them because seeing Farm Aid from the 1st row is just plain cool! Right in front of you is the photo pit where you can see Paul Natkin, Ebet Roberts and Rick Diamond work their photo magic.
You can almost touch the artists on stage. Now, I’ve worked at Farm Aid for 4 years and I’ve met a lot of famous people, but I’m not above feeling the excitement of seeing these legends up close.
All of the acts that perform at Farm Aid are great, but I especially love our board members and try to see their performances every year. I rarely get to see all of them each year, but I’ve never missed Neil Young or Willie Nelson.
Two years ago, when I was visiting folks in the front row during Willie’s set, he pulled off the Farm Aid trucker hat he was wearing and threw it into the crowd. I wasn’t even trying to catch it, but it somehow landed in my hands. I immediately put it on and wore it proudly for the rest of the night. It’s times like that I know I have the best job in the world.
Side note…If I am the “Julie the Cruise Director” of Farm Aid, does that make Willie “Captain Stubing”?