FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
December 3, 2020
Farm Aid Executive Director Carolyn Mugar Named to Billboard’s 2020 Women in Music Top Executives List
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Billboard has named Farm Aid’s Executive Director Carolyn Mugar to their 2020 Women in Music Top Executives list, which for the first time in its history acknowledges activists as well as executives who are shaping the music business and the broader culture. Mugar is one of more than 200 women recognized in the Billboard feature and one of 13 activists.
Mugar has been a part of the organization since its start in 1985, when founder Willie Nelson tapped her to lead the effort for America’s family farmers before the first Farm Aid concert was staged in Champaign, Illinois. After the concert, she was tasked by Nelson and co-founders Neil Young and John Mellencamp with distributing the $7 million raised to support new and fledging farm groups that organized farmers to build strength, responded to the human toll of the 1980s Farm Crisis and the fight for fair policies and economic justice for family farmers.
“I consider this honor to be a recognition of the entire Farm Aid organization and in no way my own,” said Mugar. “Farm Aid is and always has been a very collaborative effort, not just with our most exceptional board and staff but also with the fine people with whom we work every day in the grassroots. Our strength and spirit depends on them, and we hope we can continue to harness that energy.”
With the ongoing and unprecedented commitment of Nelson, Young, Mellencamp, and since 2001, fellow board member Dave Matthews, Farm Aid has evolved from what was expected to be a one-time-only event to an enduring nonprofit organization that has raised $60 million and inspired millions to support a family farm-centered system of agriculture in America.
Under Mugar’s leadership, Farm Aid has become the nation’s longest running benefit concert, influencing music industry changes along the way, including unique concert staging, the integration of music with experiential, hands-on components, along with composting and the sourcing of food and merchandise at concert venues. Farm Aid has also become a must-play festival for emerging talent, spotlighting early career artists who go on to win Grammys and fill stadiums, including Bon Jovi, Dave Matthews Band, Kacey Musgraves, Yola and Black Pumas. Farm Aid artists donate their travel and performances, and many music business vendors and companies support Farm Aid.
In addition to her work at Farm Aid, Mugar founded the Armenia Tree Project, an Armenia-based environmental organization that has overseen the planting and restoration of 6.5 million trees since 1994, providing food, wood, jobs and erosion control for the country.
Billboard’s annual Women in Music Top Executives list is a celebration of more than 200 female industry leaders, veterans and next-gen talents. View the entire 2020 list here: https://www.billboard.com/articles/news/women-in-music/9491000/billboard-women-in-music-list-2020-executives/
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 $60 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.