Press Releases | September 18, 2018

Farm Aid 2018: What to Expect

September 18, 2018

Brittany Vanderpool
410–599–2323 (c)

Farm Aid 2018: What to Expect

Local farms, businesses and organizations add to excitement of all-day music and food festival

HARTFORD, Conn. — Farm Aid 2018, at XFINITY Theatre on Saturday, Sept. 22, will bring together an all-star music lineup and 24,000 fans to shine a spotlight on family farmers and good food — but organizers say there’s even more to enjoy at the day-long festival.

XFINITY Theatre staff and Live Nation, together with the regional farm and food community, have joined with Farm Aid to create a memorable and meaningful day for festivalgoers. With a commitment to create a culture of service at its music venues, Live Nation, together with XFINITY Theatre staff, has worked with Farm Aid to create a welcome and inclusive environment for every Farm Aid 2018 participant.

“Live Nation is so very proud to host Farm Aid 2018 at the XFINITY Theatre in Hartford, CT,” said Jim Koplik, Live Nation President, CT and Upstate NY. “The power of live music hit me at a very early age when I saw The Beatles at Carnegie Hall. I have always felt that there is nothing that captures the excitement and the power of a live performance. The live performances at Farm Aid, however, differ from other performances in that these voices are raised to benefit farmers from across our region, and many others. So, as The Beatles inspired me to seek a future in music, let these voices inspire you to help local farmers, as they truly are the backbone of our country.”

“Area farmers, businesses and organizations contribute to Farm Aid 2018 as suppliers, sponsors, donors, culinary staff, spokespeople, vendors and exhibitors to make the event a powerful community experience,” said Farm Aid’s Glenda Yoder.

Information about the features of Farm Aid 2018:

  • Farm Aid’s HOMEGROWN Concessions® will serve family farm-sourced foods that conform to its criteria: food that is sustainably produced by family farmers utilizing ecological practices with a commitment to a fair price for farmers. Legends Hospitality and 11 additional plaza vendors will serve food, much of it sourced from local farms and fishers, to festivalgoers. Options include: fish tacos and seafood ceviche; stone fruit salad; skewered brussels sprouts; beet sandwich on local baked brioche; roasted sweet potato with local goat cheese and maple vinaigrette; ice cream sandwiches from Maple Valley Creamery; and salads with greens from Gifts of Love Farm, Micro 2 Life, CT Collards, Red, Gold & Green and CT Valley Farms. A “sloppy John” will feature meat from New Boston Grass Fed Beef; corn on the cob will be sourced from Rosedale Farms; and fried shishito peppers from Sub Edge Organic Farm.
  • HOMEGROWN Youthmarket will be staffed by young people selling local apples, pears and peaches from Lyman Orchards in Middlefield, Connecticut, and juices from Red Jacket Orchards of Geneva, New York. The youth organizations include The Institute for Community Research with Youth Food Program Alliance in Hartford; KNOX Hartford; Ellis Clark Regional Agriscience and Technology Program at Nonnewaug High School in Woodbury, Connecticut; and National Grange in Washington, DC.
  • Beverages at the venue will feature Bonterra Organic Vineyards, New Belgium Brewery and Spindrift as well as local craft beers and craft cider.
  • Parkhurst Dining is providing catering services for artists, crew and VIP guests with food, services and products sourced from local farms, as well as from generous donors including Eco-Products, Paper Products Company, Pete and Gerry’s Organic, Annie’s Homegrown, Cabot Creamery, Spindrift, Frontier Co-op, Shenandoah Valley Organic, Savage Hill Cattle Company, New England Grass Fed, Swaz Potato Farms, Once Again Nut Butter, Truelove Farms, Sardilli Produce, Mountain Valley Spring Water, Guayaki Yerba Mate, Lundberg Family Farms, Applegate Farms, Uncle Matt’s Organic, Grandy Oats, Nature’s Path Foods, Theo Chocolate, Taza Chocolate, Horizon Organic, Milky Way Farms, Organic Valley, OKE USA Fruit Company, Red’s Best, Maplemama Beverages, Patchwork Family Farms, Billings Forge and Ace Endico. Hands on Hartford will host food preparation in its commercial kitchen. Local labor and volunteers have been invited into the culinary team, including 15 culinary students from Manchester Community College.
  • The VIP area of HOMEGROWN Catering will feature local chefs, including James Wayman and Daniel Meiser from Oyster Club in Mystic; Renee Williams of Simply Chef Renee in Poquonock; Martin Beck of New England Grass Fed Beef in Stafford Springs; Dan Giusti and Ryan Kennedy of Brigaid in New London; and Seta Dakessian of Seta’s Café in Belmont, Massachusetts.
  • Farm Aid’s HOMEGROWN Concessions® food service promotes a zero-waste protocol. Blue Earth Compost will haul serviceware and food scraps to create compost that will sustain soil and future crops. Dozens of volunteers will assist in the effort. Farm Aid encourages using reusable water bottles and free water will be available to festivalgoers.
  • Farm Aid’s HOMEGROWN Village (from noon to 5:30 p.m.) will feature hands-on activities that give festivalgoers a chance to meet farmers, dig in and learn about the ways farmers enrich our soil, protect our water, grow our economy and bring us good food for good health. Festivalgoers can play games that test their farming know-how, enjoy farm machinery and robotics demonstrations, engage in compost-making, try their hand at milking cows, and get up close and personal with the microbes that live in healthy organic soil. Both local and national participants will bring exhibits. Headcount will promote voting and help people register to vote.
  • At the FarmYard Stage, festivalgoers can hear farmers and artists discuss pressing issues and share inspiring stories showcasing food and farming in the region and across the country.
  • In the HOMEGROWN Skills Tent, festivalgoers can learn how to make cheese at home, transform hemp stalks into paper, turn common wildflowers and easy-to-grow garden plants into beautiful colored dyes, learn the secrets to successful beekeeping and practice seed saving.
  • Local Connecticut farms and farmers will be featured on the video screens of the main stage. Farm Aid worked with a number of photographers to obtain photos to reflect the farmers and agriculture in the region and nation. Featured photographers include Laurie Bonneau of Connecticut Food and Farm Magazine; Patty O’Brien of Summer Crow Photos in Pennsylvania; Sabine Carey, a Pennsylvania organic farmer and photographer; Lise Metzger of Virginia, who documents the rise of female farmers through her project Grounded Women; and photographer Molly M. Peterson.
  • Flowers, straw bales and pumpkin décor will be sourced from Botticello Farms in Manchester and Eddy’s Flowers in Newington, Connecticut.
  • All Farm Aid T-shirts are made from organic cotton, with some of the cotton grown in Texas. For the first time, one T-shirt will be Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) certified.

Additional Farm Aid 2018 details for festivalgoers and fans tuning in at home:

  • 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, Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, Jamey Johnson, Margo Price, Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real, Particle Kid, and Ian Mellencamp. All the artists donate their performances and travel expenses.
  • AXS TV will broadcast Farm Aid 2018 beginning at 7 p.m. EDT. To find AXS TV in your area, visit The Farm Aid 2018 webcast at will begin at 3 p.m. EDT.
  • Willie Nelson’s SiriusXM channel (59), Willie’s Roadhouse, will air live from Farm Aid 2018 beginning at 12 p.m. EDT. SiriusXM’s Dallas Wayne will host backstage interviews and behind-the-scenes coverage of the event.
  • The Farm Aid official festival app is available for iPhone and Android devices. It allows users to view the entire Farm Aid 2018 schedule and select artists, workshops and artist briefings to make their own personal schedule for the day. Users can find out where they’re going with the festival map, check out the HOMEGROWN Concessions® food and drink offerings, read about the hands-on activities in the HOMEGROWN Village and learn about Farm Aid’s Farmer Heroes.

Sponsors of Farm Aid 2018 include Bonterra Organic Vineyards, Patagonia Workwear, Lundberg Family Farms, New Belgium Brewing Company, Horizon Organic, Pete and Gerry’s Organic, Shenandoah Valley Organic, Harbor Harvest, Frontier Co-op, Spindrift and Dean’s Beans Organic Coffee Company.

For event updates, follow Farm Aid on Twitter (@FarmAid), Facebook ( and Instagram (, and visit Festivalgoers are encouraged to use the hashtags #FarmAid2018 and #Road2FarmAid to join the conversation on social media around this year’s show.

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.

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