The Farm Aid Festival came to Hartford’s Xfinity Theatre Saturday, its first-ever stop in Connecticut.
Farm Aid is headlined by Willie Nelson, who organized the first concert more than 30 years ago. He will be joined by other musical powerhouses Neil Young, Dave Matthews, John Mellencamp, and others.
”This event happens one time a year, so they pick where they want to go every year, so again we’re so happy they chose Connecticut and Hartford," explained Live Nationa General Manager John Huff.
”It celebrates the good news of what’s going on, but it also pays attention to the plight of that and the help, the actual assistance they give, family farms especially, I’ve always admired that,” said Ron Pitz, the executive director of the urban farming organization, KNOX.
Pitz said the festival will be a bright spot in what has been a difficult year for some of the state’s farms.
”We’re really excited that we get a chance to lift up the stories and voices of Connecticut agriculture,” said Alicia Harvie, the Advocacy and Farmers Service Director for Farm Aid.
Food, farming, and fundraising are at the core of the organization’s mission.
”It really is a big family across the country and we hope that comes across for everybody who is there as a festival-goer,” said Harvie.
The festival has raised millions of dollars over the years.
”We’re having bad times on the farm again and so we want to help those families in stress, but we also want to try and help figure out a solution so that they can make a living on the farm, raise their families there so that we can bring that next generation of young farmers onto the land," said David Senter, a Farm Aid historian.
Farm Aid is hoping to inspire a food-from-farm movement for an industry that is deeply rooted.
”The role they play in our society and our culture here in the United States is essential and we can’t afford to lose any more farmers.”