We are counting down the days until our first Farm Aid concert in the great state of North Carolina. (As of this writing, it’s a mere 19!) The pace has picked up around the Farm Aid office, as we put the finishing touches on our biggest event of the year.
The lineup on the stage is set and the scenic, rigging and lighting has been mapped out. We’re working with photographers to put together the images for the video set that will be the backdrop for the amazing music on the Farm Aid stage. The photos will reflect the farmers and agriculture of North Carolina—from beautiful farmland vistas to the faces of family farmers who will be in the audience. Farm Aid artists are letting us know when they’re arriving on site in Raleigh and we’re scheduling sound checks and set times. We’re organizing their airport pickups and bus load-ins and making sure they have hotel reservations, tickets and backstage credentials. We’re coordinating dressing room schedules and backstage catering.
We’re compiling the farmer stories for the press event that kicks off show-day. The message of that event—part press conference, part pep rally—sets the tone of the day. It’s a combination of celebration, appreciation, rallying for change, and fighting the powers that threaten the fulfillment of our vision of family farm-centered agriculture. We’re organizing shifts and tasks for the hundreds of volunteers who make the Farm Aid concert possible, from the folks who help out in our catering operation (featuring family farm food, of course!) to the Green Team, which minimizes the waste we produce through our recycling and composting efforts. Our awesome t-shirt designs are finalized and merchandise is being screen-printed on organic cotton tees.
We’re designing the signs that will tell concertgoers where to go for a taste of all Farm Aid 2014 has to offer: from the HOMEGROWN Skills workshops and issue briefings that feature farmers and artists, to the tasty farm-fresh treats and local brews. HOMEGROWN Village exhibitors are finalizing their exhibits that will inspire, inform and engage 20,000 concertgoers on September 13. Times for HOMEGROWN Skill Shares are being set so that concertgoers can take part in fun activities like spinning wool for handmade friendship bracelets and weaving those beautiful flower crowns that are all the rage these days (utilizing family farm-grown flowers!). Farmers are tending the watermelons that will be served at our HOMEGROWN Youthmarket. The menus for HOMEGROWN Concessions are being finalized, and the last ingredients secured from family farm sources.
The official Farm Aid 2014 app is now available for download in the Apple and Android stores! The live webcast and the live broadcast on SiriusXM are being promoted and planned so that everyone, no matter where they are, can take part in the day.
And that covers just a few of the things that are being worked on! I didn’t mention the farm tours, farmer meetings, and our annual Farm Aid Eve kick-off party (but you can read more about those here!).
The Farm Aid office is a bit like a beehive right now, buzzing with the work of all the pieces coming together. Those of us who have the pleasure of putting this puzzle together every year thrive on that energy. For us, it’s a labor of love. And it isn’t just staff members at Farm Aid, but people across the country working to put on the best Farm Aid yet. In the coming weeks, we’ll be interviewing and posting guest blogs from those folks, to give you an idea of how the Farm Aid concert comes together. It takes a community, that’s for sure, and we think we’ve got one of the best communities of amazing people out there.
We invite you, too, to tell us how you’re getting ready for Farm Aid 2014, whether you’re joining us in person at Walnut Creek Amphitheatre or watching and listening from home. We want to know what your road to Farm Aid looks like, and what you do in your daily life to support family farmers and good food. Share your photos, videos, status updates, etc. on your social media outlet of choice, and tag it #Road2FarmAid. Get started on the #Road2FarmAid and you could win two front row tickets! Together, as a community, we’ll paint a picture of what this concert means to all of us and inspire others to take action to rally for family farmers in their own communities and at their own tables.
Farm Aid’s vision is for eaters and farmers working together to transform agriculture. We know you share this vision; we want to know how you’re working towards it. We’re all in this together, and it sure as heck isn’t going to happen without all of us pitching in.
We look forward to seeing you on the Road to Farm Aid. Travel safe and eat well!