Friday, September 28, 2007

Joel says check out the Homegrown Mural

Big shout out to the 226 concert-goers who helped create our “homegrown” mural at Farm Aid 2007: A Homegrown Festival! Thank you and great job! For those of you who didn’t see the mural as it was being created on the afternoon of the show at Randall’s Island, check out the accompanying photos of the finished, two-panel, 16’x4’ mural and the “Make Your Mark” tent where the artists did their work.

Special thanks go to Groundswell Community Mural Project of Brooklyn, who oversaw the whole project and made it possible. Groundswell prepared a sketch of pastoral scene across two big canvases, and then provided paints, paintbrushes, and a team of friendly artists to manage the project and encourage concert-goers to show their homegrown creativity.
The results are spectacular, with the sun rising over a scene of rolling hillside farmland, all brilliantly colored with signatures, messages, flowers, peace signs, hands, mushrooms, barns, silos, crops, animals, and much more. In fact, there was not enough canvas to accommodate all the concert-goer artists who wanted to take part, so people started body-painting as a way to express their homegrown spirit.

Eduardo Rabel, the lead artist for the Groundswell crew, said in an email that:
"facilitating this mural was certainly a unique experience for me. The openness of the audience to participating was a real revelation and was quite refreshing. Usually I work with urban youth who come from less privileged backgrounds and who have subsequently been under-educated and/or mis-educated by the NYC school system. Such kids tend to have a lot of inhibitions when it comes to expressing themselves creatively... In contrast, the self-selected audience at Farm Aid did not need much encouragement at all... Most of them clearly had a different type of upbringing and education that encouraged them to be unafraid to express themselves. They were mostly adults, and for the most part they were very self-confident as well as conscious of wanting to support a good cause. Many were also very informed and passionate about specific issues such as organic farming, global warming, the war in Iraq, etc. Again, very refreshing."

Lizzie Nanut, one of my team of volunteer artists, summed it up well when she said, "There was a lot of love put into that mural!"

Farm Aid had not attempted this kind of project at a concert before, so we weren’t quite sure what to expect of our crowd. But people came through with flying colors, and those colors are now hanging from the balcony here in our office. Look for another “homegrown” art project at next year’s show!

Farm Aid Concert Wrap-up

This year's concert marked several milestones for Farm Aid. Here are just the highlights:

· Farm Aid is the first major music event to serve local, organic and family-farm foods at our concessions and backstage. More than 80 percent of all ingredients were local, organic and/or sourced from family farms.

· Our annual food drive, held at the concert with help from City Harvest, collected 2,000 pounds of canned food. City Harvest collected an additional 5,000 pounds of food from backstage caterers, which was then distributed to shelters in all five New York boroughs.

· This year marked the 3rd year of our annual restaurant campaign with 24 participating restaurants.

· We implemented our first recycling and composting program at the concert. We recycled four tons of materials and composted over 700 pounds of food and utensil waste. The compost waste was transported to McEnroe Organic Farm in Millerton, N.Y. where it will be turned into compost to sustain future crops.

· We set several records on our web site, attracting record traffic to the webcast and blog , where we had backstage updates going all weekend. If you haven’t watched the webcast yet, it is now available in our FarmYard.

· This year’s concert attracted unprecedented press coverage including a great article in the New York Times and numerous positive music and food reviews!

· This year's concert featured Farm Aid’s first HOMEGROWN Village, which offered hands-on interactive experiences with family farmers and sustainable family-farm practices.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Ryan and Kim Want You to Know About Ike

Every year, beyond the privilege of working with Farm Aid and writing the blog, or hosting the webcast, I have the pleasure of meeting the amazing folks behind the scenes that make the concert and organization a success. This year was no exception. In fact, the stars were aligned for me to meet the most genuine person ever.

It started two weeks before the concert when I received a call from Kim Bucheit (one of the official Farm Aid photographers). She wanted to let me know her schedule and that instead of her following me around and taking pictures for the blog, she coordinating with staff to bring in a "Newbie" for the assignment. She went on with a list of impressive credentials for the prospective candidates. Ike – well-known chef, restaurateur, and aspiring photographer ultimately ended up in the position to donate his time and do the job. She said that we would hit it off really well – we had the same sense of humor.

The night before the concert I was supposed to meet up with Ike to go over our plan of attack for the day of the concert. He was late getting to Randall’s Island because he had catered a large event for the Governor of New Jersey that day around noon… then packed his bags and headed for New York. When I finally did catch him for our introduction, guess where I found him…in the catering tent whipping up his world famous crabcakes for the Farm Aid staff and Neil Young’s crew. The guy just never stopped. Ike Cossaboon was dedicated to good food.

So we spent the entire concert. Bouncing from the audience to backstage to vendor booths and then to the production trailer to download the photos while I wrote the articles to go with them. Kim was right, we were a good team. In fact, at the start of the day, this big, burley, stone of a guy got nervous about taking photos. I assured him that is was not about the perfect angle, it was about just capturing the moment. And after the first round of photo-taking, the nervousness went away, and he was on fire.

We talked a great deal of plans for the future. He had this great idea of a show that he was pitching to the food network that highlighted the seafood from sea to table. And boy was he the person to do that show too. He was the owner and creative genesis behind 2 restaurants in New Jersey – Ike's Famous Crabcakes.

We joked with his friends in the audience about how normally he is the guy in charge at an event and that it was funny to see him following my orders….the juxtaposition in size made it even funnier. But really we were a team that day.

We ended our day exchanging information and he gave me a slew of Ike's Famous Crabcakes shirts and hot sauce. We made plans to meet again at his restaurant – he said to call before, because if we showed up to the restaurant and asked for him, he has instructed his staff to say he is not there…

Well, he might not be there, but his spirit will always be. Ike passed away yesterday.

I had written this article for the blog the day of the concert but never posted it. Now I post this in his memory. I know he made an impact on me in just one day, I can only imagine the amazing impact that he had on his family and friends. Farm Aids thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends and especially his kids, Paul and Caleb. Ike was an outstanding, generous and dedicated person, he will be greatly missed.


By Kim Buchheit, Photography Team

We are still sorting through and selecting our best images to finalize the 2007 Photo Album. We’re going to be improving upon the content of the album in the near future. A lot was happening on the day of the show and it was a challenge to get everything just right under hectic conditions.

The basic idea is that we (Mike, Ike and I) ran around shooting lots of photos for various purposes, and then we hoofed it a good distance back to our stations, downloaded, resized images and made some quick judgments about which photos were worthy to give web viewers a feel for the events. We delivered groups of photos to Jeni and Jeff who were editing content and updating the website continuously until the last set list was posted. Ryan, Ike and Wendy were keeping up with the blog entries and another team was responsible for bringing in the video blog segments.

We have been making good progress on our deliverables and further coordination of our efforts, when we got the shocking news of Ike’s sudden departure from life.

I had been thinking about writing a blog entry about my experiences as a Farm Aid photographer and what a fun, cool gig it is. But, in this case, it is far more appropriate and compelling to honor Ike Cossaboon.

Ike was the newest member of the Farm Aid Photography team, having volunteered to pitch in as needed. He would be sure to make it known that he was first and foremost, “Daddy” to two most remarkable young boys. Ike’s favorite photo subjects were his boys. They allowed him an excuse to use his camera at any moment.

Ike’s love for his boys was clearly announced by a lovely photo on his laptop screen that faced out to the world from the top of the folding table in our portable workspace that we made home on the very memorable day that we shared with him on September 9, 2007.

Ike was proud to lift the sleeve of his black “Got Crabs?” t-shirt to show me a likeness of his boys indelibly inscribed in ink on his upper left arm. Completing the picture at the highest extent of the sleeve stretch was his Dad’s likeness symbolically looking down on them from above. Ike may have looked like a rough and tough biker type, but he was a self-proclaimed softie when it came to his emotions for family and friends.

Ryan spoke of the top-notch seafood dinner that Ike personally planned, delivered and prepared for the crew on the night immediately preceding Farm Aid 2007. Ike arrived at the venue on Saturday night after a run of consecutive long days to immediately start preparing a feast for his old and new friends. The Farm Aid staff and some of the crew were working a late night to make final preparations for Sunday. Strangers, new acquaintances and old friends were overwhelmed with Ike’s desire and ability to provide a special treat. That’s just one small example of the generosity and kindness that will continue to make Ike’s legacy World Famous.

Like others that have left this planet too soon, we can’t help but reflect on the impact of their fleeting presence. We wish to recall the life in their eyes, replay the sound of their voices and save the best laughs that we had together. There is no doubt that many of us are unexpectedly constructing some permanent space in our heart for Ike at this moment.

Ike made his debut as a Farm Aid Photographer with passion and gusto. Mike and I were proud to watch him come through under pressure after all of his worries and to get the great shots that he did. He was pretty happy with this shot.

His eye for each new situation and his photos added to the stories that were told. He did a great job. His concerns about fitting in and being capable of contributing seem rather distant today.

Ike earned his wings and was well on his way to bigger and better photographs. He is welcome to fly over next year and drop a feather or two, just to keep us wondering.

Farm Aid Staff Love Your Emails

After the show, we really enjoy hearing from folks. This is a favorite that came to us a few days ago.

"To the Farm Aid Crew-

Just want to take a moment out of my busy day and say I think its great what you guys are doing. I have never heard of you guys until I passed a bus on the highway this morning with "farm aid" on the side and powered by bio diesel. I was intrigued so when I got home I went to the web to find out more. As a fourth generation family farmer, I couldn't help but smile when I stumbled on to your web site. Being in the small town of Easton Connecticut, which was once a strong farming community, I get chills down me when I drive by what was once a family farm and see it filled with million dollars homes. Being so close to New York city the land is so valuable it has made farming here nearly extinct. As land values go up, most farmers give into the temptation and sell knowing that they can't possibly make as much in a lifetime as they can by selling the farm for. As for me, our family farm was founded in 1912 by my great grandfather, as he and my grandfather and father all had a battle to keep the farm going , I am faced with a war almost daily to keep it going. I personally can't wait for 2012 where the farm will reach the 100 year anniversary. Once again thought it would be nice to hear from a farmer who is truly thankful for all you guys do every day to help us.

Irv Snow
Snows Farm "

Thanks Irv! And keep up the good work!!

Neil addresses Farm Aid concergoers


Monday, September 10, 2007

Farm Aid in the News!

Check out these links to articles about yesterday's show!

The Nation

Live Daily

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Willie at the press conference


Ryan Spotlights “Overheard at the NYC Farm Aid”

You may already know, but a very popular web site based in New York City is called Overheard in New York – where everyday people overhear one-liners or conversations on the subway, street or even work and post them to the sight to show how absurd something sound….so we have been compiling ours all day. Note: I will give comments to give reference or highlight their rumor or lack there of:

Heard on the Backlot:
Woman – “Farm Aid is your chance to be closer to God”

Heard in the Homegrown Village:
Young girl – “Naming the chickens makes them more tough to eat”

Heard in the Audience:
Middle-aged woman with thick Brooklyn accent holding a fresh glass of beer – “You know where I can find sunblock. This sunburn is ruining my buzz.”
Tall guy talking to bud as they watch Dennis Alley's Wisdom Indian Dancers in full regalia walk by –“Dude, what do Native American have to do with farming?”
(blogger comment: can we say duh – maize – pilgrims, societal survival…yes I was offended)
Shirtless frat boy staring a friends “Free Willie” t-shirt – “I am so glad Willie is out of jail.”
Young woman on a ground with out a blanket – “I am dirty, but not in a good way.”
Girl to friend – “Screw the Port –o – John, lets Pop-a-Squat!”
(blogger comment: I know the lines were long but hey that's just not right!)
Staff member in golf cart in the backlot – “We may hit that garbage can, brace yourself…BANG!”

Heard in the Media Tent:
Media Person to Farm Aid staff working in the Media Tent – “So how much do you get paid for being an escort at the concert?”
(blogger comment: All media are “escorted” by staff wearing a badge labeled escort.)
Videographer and rowdy person exchange words

Rowdy guy trying to get in video shot - Hey get a picture of my @$$!
Videographer – No thanks, I got all the @$$ footage I needed before noon today

Heard in the Catering Tent:
Loud voice in the corner – “Check out the New York cops, mmm, lets do something bad.”

Heard on Stage:
One of the performers, talking to the crowd – “I like a good tomato. One that is so good it hurts your mouth.”

Ryan Tells How You Can Create Your Own Farm Aid Concert

Ok, so let’s say that you missed the plethora of media coverage, the giant billboard on the NJ turnpike and the numerous radio, and newspaper advertising and you didn’t know that Farm Aid had taken over Randall’s Island this weekend. For whatever reason, you missed being here with us. Well, do the following to build your own concert.

Go to a local farmers market or a grocery store and buy a meals worth of food that is local to the New York area and support family farmers (yes it is possible – you just have to ask where your food comes from).

Enjoy the Performers and Create Your Own Concert "space"– Link to many of the performers Myspace Pages to listen to various songs they might actually sing on stage. Also while there - add Farm Aid as a friend.

Donate to Farm Aid – donate what you can – it will make a big difference.

Ryan Reveals Best Myth and Rumors and not so-Rumors during the Concert

Criminal Intent:
A production crew member for Law and Order’s Criminal Intent was working with the crew backstage and told me that last week one of the actors – Vincent D’Onofrio was wondering if anyone was going to the Farm Aid concert – and most of the cast responded yes. Did anyone see these celebrities or others? THIS IS A RUMOR TILL OTHERWISE CONFIRMED.

TP is MIA:
Starting about noon the rumor mill had the existence of toilet as scarce if not zero. It first started backstage, then migrated to the audience. THIS RUMOR WAS TRUE – and sadly still is…

Good Food Gone:
There was nasty rumor that staff, crew and artist catering had run out of food. By the size of lines to get food – it seemed truthful. BUT THIS RUMOR WAS FALSE. There was plenty of food.

The Keg is Empty:
Well the rumor of no more beer was not true for the audience section of the concert. But backstage in the VIP area – it was certainly true…but it did not happen till 9pm, normally the tent would close at 9:45PM. RUMOR NOT TRUE – WELL KINDA

Counting Crow Flew the Coop:
They had to leave – that was heard for a bit. But I squelched it with a sighting of Adam Duritz lifting arm weights outside his trailer in the backlot. He had a big crowd of onlookers waiting for the shirt to come off.

Daryl Hannah Makes a Splash:
You have seen the pictures and you read the blog. Yes, she was here and fabulous – NOT A RUMOR – TRUE.

And speaking of splash - lets give a shout out to the craftiest concert goers who had a great seat but only via boat. The East River shore of Randall's Island was covered in boats of all shapes and size...these guys got a free show for sure - I hope they go out and support good food and family farmers this week. Buying a t-shirt from the Farm Aid website wouldn't hurt either!

Ryan Exposes the VIP Tent – By Comment Request

The VIP tent was to stage left and back in a shaded area. There were great shade trees and green green grass. White picket fences line different areas, and people are mellow, quiet and chill.

Tables are lined with black and white checkered table clothes. High round tables are topped with veggies, fruit and snacks. It is a concert utopia. I should have come sooner. The food tent is amazingly decorated – I have a sense there will be a bunch of hay, pumpkins and corn available after the concert. I am greeted with smiling faces, handing out FREE programs…flat screen tv's show the concert to onlookers.

I have never have felt something so laidback. They even had special restroom trailers that were clean and large. Their own private ATM and to answer the golden question… no the beer was not free – but water, organic sodas and juices were free for the taking.

It is obvious, that VIP is the way to go.

Learn what makes the food at Farm Aid Homegrown- Video

Go behind the scenes to see and hear what's cooking on Farm Aid day!


Ryan Continues a Farm Aid Tradition – The Audience Upgrade

Our mission: To make them cry – or jump – at least hug me in glee.

Our goal: To upgrade a set of four concert goers who seem content with their “nose bleed” seats.

So we set aside four very special tickets to the 4th row center seats for the concert. Then I find a photographer, a video crew and a Farm Aid artist and we head out for the farthest point from the stage.

For our adventure this year I was able to befriend and bring Farm Aids kickoff performer Jesse Lenat. Jesse is a songwriter, singer and performer who makes his home in New York City...but grew up in rural Pennsylvania the son of a cactus man. Jesse recently worked with John Mellencamp and Stephen King on a project called “Ghost Brothers” in which he played The Shape – or as he called it – the Devil.

Jesse also, as some of you may have learned from the trivia questions, has to his New York theater credits Rent, Tooth Crime: Second Dance and he performed a solo show of the life of Woody Guthrie. It seems I always get to meet a great new performer every year, and they become an instant friend – Jesse is no exception.

So with Jesse in tow, we headed out. After looking for a good deal of time and actually having a family become too shy to continue with an interview we found a set of two couples who matched the goal. They were surrounded by people waiting in line for the ATM, just relaxing on a blanket and feeling very content.

As Guster wrapped up their set on stage, I approached and began to unravel our plan. They were Eric Nyman, Katie Cook & Rosemary Topar and John Thomas, all from New Jersey. They are all current or alums from Montclair College.

I introduced them to Jesse. They began to look down ashamed of not having seen him perform at 12:00 because they got there around 2:00pm. Katie said they had planned an getting here – but the buses took forever – it was their first time to Randall’s Island – their first time to Farm Aid too.

Then Jesse and I explained our tradition. It slowly began to sink in. They jumped to their feet. John was speechless. Katie went in for the hug (I got the hug)… Katie said “Jesse – now we are your biggest fans…”We posed for photos, autographs, and packed up and started the trek up to their new prime location. The whole time, their eyes were big with amazement and mouths open with shock.

The trek back was long with stops for Jesse to talk to fans, and obstacles of lines for food, port-o-potties and the biggest line for the ATM. In the end – four concert goers ended up jumping in the front as Counting Crows began their set and I have two tickets myself.

Jesse will be performing the lead in the play “Current Nobody at the Wooly Mammoth theater in DC, near where I live. So a win – win tradition with just a little hugging.


More Press Conference Video




Ryan Explores the Farm Aid Merchandise

I did a bit of investigative journalism – I am kidding – I really just went and asked questions of the people selling the merchandise to see what was selling the fastest and why. I wanted to go the farthest out to see the lawn seat people and what they were buying.

That booth was being over-run. I felt bad for the staff, they were hot, tired and angry – or maybe they were just New Yorkers…anyway they refused an interview and photography and called security. So we left, now I know how reporters feel some of then time on news stories.

I figured that the booth that was least over-run might be better to ask. I was right. They were cheery, and willing to help. Ike my photography went town clicking shots of all the merchandise and people trying to get the last of different items.

When I asked what was selling the fastest, they instantly said, anything Babydoll size…especially the Strawberry T-shirt. The runner up is the Apple T-shirt. With the blue logo shirt and the Black tractor t-shirt filling the top four.

Sarah Cheffy of Washington DC, who travels to every Farm Aid she said , bought the black tractor t-shirt. I did a little fashion interviewing – Tim Gunn style to see why that choice. She didn’t miss a beat and went right into how she loved the type of material - ah la American Apparel. She even went into how the graphic being rasterized ( contrasty) was a good trend and something she liked. Sarah came with a group of five and can’t wait for the next concert.

I then ran into John Mellencamp’s wife supermodel Elaine Irwin Mellencamp. She was out among the crowd with Hud and Speck, her children. They were searching for the perfect t-shirt. Elaine got the strawberry t-shirt. It shows that even with all their connections they still want to buy a t-shirt – but if they asked we could have got them one.

Willie himself never takes a free shirt – he sent Farm Aid to go get the same Black t-shirt that Sarah bought…although I doubt it was the babydoll.

Ryan Meets with New York State Royalty

While making my way through the throngs of concert goers, I saw something sparkling in the sunlight. It was the three crowns of princesses in the midst of family farmers. They were the recently crown New York Dairy Princess and her two alternate princesses. To find out more I interrupted their concert experience and asked them a bunch of questions.

How Does it Work, this princess thing? Well it turns out that young women must first compete on a county level. Then after wearing the crown for a full year, and in good grace – are then able compete for the Miss New York Dairy Princess title.

The winner Hanna McDermott of Granville in Washington County explained that the competition required all there is to know about dairy products. I asked if they had a specific area of focus like cheese curds or perhaps chocolate milk. I was met with blank stares and then laughter…the answer was just dairy products and their production in general.

Then when I asked who was the first alternate, the two princesses in waiting looked at each other and said it really doesn’t matter…then Alternate One – Brynn Gillen-Dennis of Pompey, Onondaga County said technically she was but that isn’t the point. The idea is that they are a team. The three of them tour sporting events, agricultural festivals and recently the State Fair.

Alternate Two – Julia Hudyncia of Fort Plain, Montgomery County noted that her act of preference was Montgomery Gentry. Brynn was looking forward to Willie – she likes the classics and Winner Hannah – sighing with dreamy eyes pined…"I like Dave"..

Their trip was provided by the American Dairy Association.

Link to Ryan's Photo Album

Check out all his photos here.

Ryan Scoops Before the Press Conference-video

And they have all gathered in the open area of the Icahn stadium for a sun-drenched press conference. Things start a little late because Dave was doing a late soundcheck – and I think that Tim Reynolds was on stage with him as well.

The artists are gathering in the area behind the large stage – media outlets packed the folding chairs – probably more than 500 people are surrounding the stage. Artists like Jesse Lenat, The Ditty Bops, Danielle Evin and Pauline Reese are all talking with fans, snapping pictures and such.

I stop to catch up with Pauline Reese. She has a new crew with her, and loud-60’s inspired clothes that match her personality – noticeable and stylish. She beams when she sees me. We had a great time last year together – she even gave me a t-shirt. I ask how her year went – she hands me a card and says she has new info – and whispers with a smile – “I got a divorce – my decision – I am happy.”

The Ditty Bops show up well rested from their bike ride over to the concert from downtown. Amanda (I believe –I do get them mixed up) is carrying a cute Asian-inspired yellow umbrella to shield her and Abby from the sun. Very smart!

Daryl Hannah of Kill Bill fame is here too. Yes, she came. She is close with Willie and supports many of his biodiesel initiatives. She is here to support the family farm good food cause. As a vegetarian from the age of 11, she understands the importance that good food plays in not only a healthy diet but a healthy country. She even has her own weekly video blog called DH Love Life, on Sustainable Solutions.

I chatted with her a bit about how I met the people at her booth, and how Frankie was going to give me a tour of a bio-fuel producing family farm in Maryland – near where I live.

As the Farm Aid four approach – Dave, Neil, Willie and John, the crowd parts as the event staff and security escort them to the stage. Willie makes the effort to come over to each act on stage and welcome them and thank them for attending – I see him chat a bit with Amanda and Abby of the Ditty Bops, and shake hands with Jesse Lenat.

They settle into their seats and Carolyn Mugar (Ex. Dir. of Farm Aid) opens the press conference with a long-roll of applause.
Below is Neil speaking at the press conference.



Ryan Says Ready Set and GO!

So the concert started, a little late, but it started!

Jesse Lenat performed a hot set to start us off. Titty Bingo – Willie’s sister’s band was unable to perform, so Pauline Reese is on stage now… so all the times are now shifted and I do not know them in detail.

To respond to some comments. Yes Jimmy Sturr is polka – but polka like you have never seen or heard before… it always brings the house to their feet.
And Warren Haynes is here without Gov’t Mule – but that doesn’t mean he will be solo – it is not uncommon for someone like a Dave or Willie to join him.
And as far as there being a final acoustic finale with Dave, Willie, Neil and John – well it hasn’t happened since I have been coming to the concert – but THAT would be amazing!

Ryan has video of Dave's soundcheck

The day begins with the concert press conference, where all the artists come together to talk about Farm Aid and the cause of good food. During the prep, I headed off to the media tent where more than 300 different types of media will be hanging out interviewing New York farmers and various artists. The tent needed to be notched up in décor so my brother and I put our decorating skills to test.

We realized that we needed some chairs from the VIP tent in the back for artists and major donors…so I went exploring. I rounded the corner near the stage and bumped into none than other – Dave Matthews. He was wandering, by himself…he looked lost so I directed him to the stage for his soundcheck….

It was great to see him here so early in the day and ready to go. Then I realized that in about 15 minutes he was supposed to be at the press conference. Confirming the timing lapse was the anxious row of golf carts waiting for Neil, Willie, John and Dave to get together for photos and cart over to the Icahn stadium for the open air press conference.

This video shows Dave Matthew’s soundcheck on Randall’s Island – 10:45 amSept. 9th, 2007.


The Webcast Update

While there won't be a live webcast today, for those of you who couldn't make it to the show in NYC we will have it for you on our website starting on Thursday Sept 13th at 3pm ET.

It will be posted by artist and will be free for one week. After that it will live in the Farm Aid FarmYard for our members to enjoy! Hopefully, those of you who need to watch more than once will join the Farm Aid fan club and see it again and again.

The Long Awaited Lineup

Here (better late than never ... right) is a ROUGH run down of the show on Sunday. Please know the order and times are subject to please don't make your decisions about when to show up based on this order!!

I can't give specific times, however, assume that Jesse Lenat starts around 12:15 or so...set lengths vary quite a bit- not all are the same length.

Jesse Lenat
Titty Bingo

Pauline Reese
40 Points
Jimmy Sturr
The Ditty Bops
Danielle Evin
Billy Joe Shaver
Montgomery Gentry
The Derek Trucks Band
Warren Haynes
Counting Crows
Gregg Allman
The Allman Brothers Band
Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds
John Mellencamp
Neil Young
Willie Nelson & Family with Calhoun Twins and Paula Nelson
Finale @ 10:36pm

Ryan Replies to Comments, Questions and Rumors

Ok, so the housekeeping needs to be done. I want to respond to questions and comments posted, so everyone know the deal.

Lee asked:
Is Neil playing with a band or solo? I wonder if the soundcheck means S&G will be on the set list.
So – Lee, as far as Silver and Gold being apart of his performance – it is always likely, but Neil often likes to shake things up and changes the game plan. He knows what he is doing too. I found out that he arrived in the city on Thursday and is staying in a hotel in Manhattan …maybe I’ll tell you where later. He will be performing solo, but that always changes too. Don’t be surprised if he jumps on stage during other performances for an impromptu song.

And pnutsmama asked:
i'm really hoping that since we have a little one that we're bringing the security folks will let us bring her sippy cups w/ milk!? Are you allowed to exit and re-enter the venue to access stuff from your vehicle? Are you allowed to bring a small diaper bag do you think? i would think so. this is going to be great!thanks again!
So, it is going to be a really long day for you – bring a blanket,for when the little one gets tired. Sippy cups may get through – security has been thorough and understanding here on Randall’s Island. The diaper bag should be fine too. As for the re-entry, I have asked security and they are checking… my feeling is that even if there is re-entry, that you will be parking really far away and may not want to walk back and forth.

Also in the celebrity buzz and rumor mill.
Darryl Hannah is rumored to be a guest celebrity and to be introducing the Ditty Bops. Who, by the way, will be biking over to the concert. Look for them on the Triborough bridge!

Ryan Gives the 411 on the Concert Activities

With the flexible nature of Randall’s Island, Farm Aid was able to put together many activities to keep people in touch with the point that good food comes
from family farmers.
Concert goers will enter the venue through a series of gates at the start of Icahn Stadium. Yesterday, I saw a bit how this area is normally used – droves of families camped out for picnics, BBQ’s and just plain fun. It seem to be a green oasis in a sea of cement.

Directly in the opposite corner, about a football field or two from the stage (this place is big) is the Homegrown Village. This area is not to be missed. I will be going over there myself and exploring it all today. The following stations or booths will be available:

In Dirt We Trust – Come see all the things that wriggle and crawl and basically fertilize soil, and turn household waste in valuable earth.

Tap the Source – Ever wondered how water gets fresh and clean – peek into the system for New York.

Eat Your Zip Code – What is growing in your backyard? Did you know that could get fresh Bronx grown figs? Urban farming and gardening is much more than a tomato plant in a pot on a window sill. Take a look at what is really going on in Urban agriculture.

Farm Power –Does biodiesel smell like French Fries? Check it out for yourself – learn how many “food miles” are in your shopping cart and see how sustainable farming is changing the way we see power.

Resurrect the Potluck – Stop here to get tips on how cook and prepare local foods to the fullest quality. Not only creative ways but also healthy.

FarmYard – Do you know where the US farm bill is going? Do you have questions about food and where it comes from? Well this is where you need to be.

And also Make your Mark at the Groundswell Community Mural Project – Paint or draw your HOMEGROWN memories or thoughts on murals, created on-site during the concert.

Ryan quizzes…What do you know about Farm Aid and New York?

Like last year we would like to quiz all you Farm Aid fans for a chance at some fun prizes. First person to post the correct series of answers will get a 2007 Farm Aid concert t-shirt and farm aid bumper sticker. So put on your thinking caps!

Question 1
Which of the Farm Aid 2007 band/performers – performed on Saturday Night Live in 1994?

Question 2
By teaming up with musicians in New York City, which Farm Aid performer honed her music craft and later signed with Atlantic Records after an independent CD release?

Question 3
Which member of the Allman Brothers was born in New York?

Question 4
Today's Farm Aid artist, Matisyaha was raised in what New York city?

Question 5
What Farm Aid staple lived in New York state in the late 60’s and 70’s during his childhood? (His dad worked or IBM.)

Questions 6
What member of the Derek Trucks Band was born in the Bronx?

Question 7
Ryan Miller of Guster (one of today's performers) lives in what New York state city?

Question 8
What Farm Aid act, rode bicycles across the US (from LA – to NYC) last summer as part of their tour?

Question 9
Which Farm Aid performers recently paired up for a performance at Radio City Music call in NYC in April 2007?

Question 10
What performer, from today’s show has in his New York Theatre credits the Tony Award winning musical – Rent?

Don't forget- post your answers as comments!

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Ryan Reveals the Goings On the Night Before the Big Day

As the sky turned dark, the area backstage began to pop with towers powering up lights to help crews still organizing for the show. Also towering is the stage – from the back raised 6 feet off the ground. Grey boxes on wheels, normally under the protection of the cover stage, are being wheeled off the stage to a safe covering of plastic.

I veer off into a little court of sorts that is owned by Live Nation. They certainly have this down to an art. Their trailer is decked out with a couch, beaded curtain doorway, a netted gazebo and umbrella topped tables. The crew relaxing not only after a grueling day, but an action packed set of months.

I wander back to the stage – I was getting weird looks – I think they think that I was spying or something. I climb to the stage and see that we have major efficiency this year in the set preparation. The stage is an ingenious turn table. Ron Stern said that it is not the first year that we have had a stage like this. and it will lend itself to a time efficient concert. While one artist performs, the other preps on the other side. Then when everything is a go, the stage turns like a lazy-suzanne to a waiting crowd.
Backstage the mixture of Boston/New England accents and New York vernacular/accents is not only refreshing but humorous...

Sound check for Neil Young continues as crews roll black boxes label Danielle Evin and Mellencamp from one side of the stage to the other. While Neil has not made it to the stage – his tech Larry Cragg get everything into tune.
The audience and motion lights rotate in a practiced performance like a dancer prepping for a recital. Various stage techs whip out flashlights to check cords. Then a haze forms as the fog machine is tested. The sweat-laced crew stands in corners reviewing to-do lists, others search for rope – with yelps of “Rope!” Many others are positioning and marking levers with tape to remind themselves of placement tomorrow. Unraveled cords are sorted at one end while another cord is knotted.

It gets really quiet….Neil is approaching to sound-off on stage. The front rows of seats are quickly filled with crew, caters, staff and onlookers as Neil launches into Silver and Gold… Workin' hard every day - Never notice how the time slips away - People come, seasons go - We got something that'll never grow old.

No matter how many times I see the stage come to life, it certainly never grows old.

Upstate-Downstate Food and Farm Caravan Final Day

By Hank Herrera

Managing Director, New York Sustainable Agriculture Working Group

September 8, 2007 – Day 6


We left Glynwood at 5:00 a.m. to reach Union Square for a live television interview with Mark at 7:30 a.m. We arrived a bit before 7:00 a.m. and after some delays Mark did the interview. City Harvest, a partner with Farm Aid for the Concert, attended this press event to bring attention to the food drive that will take place at the concert. Concertgoers can bring nonperishable food to the concert. City Harvest volunteers will be at the entrances collecting the food for distribution to hungry New Yorkers in the five boroughs.

With the demands of setting up for Farm Aid’s Celebration of Farm and Food at the Greenmarket in Union Square we needed to move the City Harvest and Foodlink trucks as quickly as possible. Mark, Max and I drove back uptown to the concert at Randall’s Island. Very quickly after we arrived the catering staff took over the truck, using it as another cooler.

So here we are backstage at Farm Aid’s 2007 concert site. We arrived. We made it—six wonderful days of travel, visiting 16 amazing farms, eating incredible fresh, local food. From Liz Henderson’s sweet cherry tomatoes to the roasted Berkshire pork last night at Greig Farm, from Evans Creamery cheddar cheese to roasted chicken from Herondale Organic Farm, we had an endless feast of the best food anyone can imagine.

I have enjoyed every minute of this journey. I want to thank Mark Smith, Laura Freden, Joel Morton and Carolyn Mugar of Farm Aid for their genuine embrace of our participation, unfailing generosity and hospitality.

I have learned more about New York agriculture on this six-day journey than I had ever learned before. I am startled to realize how little I knew about our farmers and our farms. I take away from our experience a much deeper appreciation for the people who dedicate their lives to producing our food in the most caring way possible.

There is so much more to learn and to share with the people who take eating for granted—and pretty much that is all of the rest of us who do not farm. There is a great diversity of farming practices in New York State but everyone we met wanted us to know about and appreciate their commitment to producing the highest quality food and to practicing wise stewardship of the land. Agriculture goes beyond good food to the essence good living itself—with good living with family, friends and in community.

Finally I would like to mention my struggle with superlatives on this trip. There are only so many ways to say excellent, outstanding, stupendous, the best, la crème de la crème, it couldn’t be better. I have used them all because they all fit the extraordinary food that our New York farmers produce. We are blessed. Thanks, Farm Aid, for making sure we know it.

Ryan Happily Groans with a Full Stomach

Across the way from my air conditioned trailer is the catering tent for the staff, crew and artists. While I just arrived today, these dedicated culinary artists have been hard at work since Thursday. They were feeding people before the stage was even built.

The tent earlier had billowing plumes of aroma flying all over the backlot. With mixtures of chicken, fresh herbs, grilled onions and eggplant and squash, it was almost too much to take. Plus I had to wait another hour and half before I could fix a heaping plate. I first had to get the lay of land via a tour showing where all the hot spots are located.

So back to the food – it’s unbelievably great! Now granted it is not often I get a good organic meal – I know I should practice what I preach. I do however have more than most people – and that is the point. I should change the routine – you should change the routine. And boy could the new routine be yummy!

I talked with Jeffery Miller, President of the catering company, Whose Catering, who is making everyone’s stomach full and mouths water. The dinner tonight was a choice of different mixed greens and an assortment of toppings from grape tomatoes to sliced carrots. The soup was a mushroom minestrone type – I am not a fan of mushrooms but that soup was an eye-opener and very good, even on a hot day. The main course that crew, staff and artist crew had the pleasure of eating was a choice of three organic meats – turkey in a juicy sauce, pork in a hollandaise sauce and perfectly cooked chicken. To top it off were sides of golden potatoes-- cooked to just the right tenderness along with carrots. I may have missed some items, but that is all I could fit on my plate.

Whose Catering – hailing from New York’s own Bronx, has certainly showed us that a homemade meal, with homegrown food it a home run.

Upstate-Downstate Caravan Day 4

By Hank Herrera
Managing Director, New York Sustainable Agriculture Working Group

September 7, 2007 – Day 5

Chatham, Ghent and Red Hook

We got off to an early start on this next-to-the-last day of our journey. We drove first to a pleasant coffee shop and bakery in Chatham searching for wireless internet access of all things. Apart from the personal inconvenience of limited cell phone and broadband internet access in the rural communities we visited, we now have a much greater appreciation for the challenges faced in our rural communities to get connected to the wired world.

Next we traveled down the road to the A. Oombs and Sons Dairy Farm. Eric Oombs and his brothers manage this 340-head dairy herd. In addition they prepare and sell feed to their neighbors. Mary Gail Biebel from the local organization, Chatham Keep Farming, described an impressive grass-roots initiative to preserve farmland in the Town of Chatham. Judy LaBelle, President of the Glynwood Center in Cold Spring, described the role of the Keep Farming Program at Glynwood in the process. The Chatham Keep Farming Program involved an extensive community assessment of farming as part of the revision of the Town’s Comprehensive Plan beginning in 2004. The process led to a set of recommendations that the Town Board endorsed, including the immediate formation of a permanent Community Agricultural Partnership committee. This successful initiative ensures that the Town will balance farming and development to keep the value of agriculture at the forefront in its future planning.

From Chatham we traveled Ghent for lunch at the Hawthorne Valley Farm. The Farm is a 400-acre pasture-based, Biodynamic® farm. The Farm is associated with pre-K through 12 independent Waldorf School and provides a rich learning experience for the students. Farm staff prepared a superb lunch from products from the Farm, including brownies made by 7th graders with a surprise, mystery ingredient (it was beets!). After lunch Martin Ping, the Director of the Hawthorne Valley Association that includes the farm and the school and other programs, told the history of the Farm, which began with Waldorf teachers taking their vacations on a farm and deciding to buy the farm to put their beliefs into practice. Today the Farm includes diversified dairy, egg and vegetable production, value-added products like yogurt, cheese, lacto-fermented vegetables and baked goods. The farm markets its products directly at its own farm store (located on-site in a new building that reflects “the thoughtful aspects of green technology”) and at Greenmarket locations in New York City. The Farm is almost completely self-sufficient, producing its own inputs like compost and feeds, in alignment with Biodynamic® principles that honor the interconnectedness of all living things and considers the farm itself as a living organism. Hawthorne Valley Farm is an inspiration, reflecting their success in achieving their mission focused on social and cultural renewal.

From the Farm we traveled to the Greig Farm, where our caravan connected with the Sustainable Table Eat Well Tour of America for its grand finale event. We dined on delicious local food, enjoyed musical entertainment and visited the exhibits of dozens of Hudson Valley farms and food producers. Mark served on a panel talking about local food with Diane Hatz, Founder/Director of Sustainable Table and Chef4Life Laura Pensiero, owner of Gigi’s Trattoria at Greig Farm. At the event Mark received a proclamation from NYS Governor Elliot Spitzer proclaiming Sunday, September 9, Farm Aid Day in New York State and thanking Farm Aid for its work promoting local agriculture.

We left Greig Farm for the Glynwood Center where Judy LaBelle provided our accommodations for our last night on the caravan.

Ryan Asks for a High Five

Well, we have made it to Randall’s Island in one piece – but a bit disheveled.

We only honked once the entire way. Yes, that requires a high five! We (me and a van of volunteers) drove up from Silver Spring, Maryland through a few dozen tunnels, tolls and traffic jams. You would think that with all the tolls the roads would have been paved with gold. Rumor has it that Neil Young's bus caravan had just over $100 in tolls just to get to Randall’s Island.

So here is the backstage scoop the day before the concert. Amidst the rumble of Randall's Island bridge construction, Farm Aid has created an oasis of food, family and fun. The stage is a silver tower of scaffolding and the loud bass of sound checks can be heard for blocks away…(sorry East Harlem)!

The stage is flanked and fronted by a blaze of folding chairs for seating. For those of you who have been to Randall’s Island for a concert – you’ll know, with the good weather forecast tomorrow – there better be sunblock, hats and light clothing on your wardrobe list. While good food, amazing entertainment and just plain fun won’t be hard to find - shade will be.

I have to say that in the 9 concerts I have attended… this is the most different. While many things like the backstage, artist trailers, the Farm Aid trailers of transportation, staff, and PR are the same there are some differences. Port-o-potty’s are the norm and golf carts are required for getting back and forth.

I am looking forward to reporting from the FarmYard area of the concert. This year I paid for my membership online and now I get to be apart of the action and if I flash my member card- I get something free in the FarmYard...wonder what it will be...

Ryan Tells you How to Pack for the Concert

So every year, there are those concert goers that bring things that they shouldn't to the concert – I am not going to name names or go into details – but you know who you are!

So like last year, I thought I’d post what you should bring and what you should NOT bring. And many of these are based on venue regulations.

1. No you can not bring your grandma’s favorite homemade chicken noodle soup, or that special drink you dad makes in the basement (yes, Dad I am talking to you…..) No outside food or beverages with the exception of one sealed bottle of water, one liter or less, and personal snacks up to one gallon in a clear baggie.

2. Remember though this concert is most of the day. People are screaming for their favorite band and it can get loud and hot. If your kids aren't really tolerant you might want to leave little Jack and Jill with the sitter. Children under two years do not need a ticket if they sit on a parents lap.

3. I know most of you concert goers have those state of art fold out chairs that pop-up with cup holders, headrests, and valet parking. And your mom may want to pack a cooler full of goodies, but leave them home. No chairs or coolers. Small blankets for General Admission seating are permitted.

4. While sparky or kitty might be big fans of Counting Crows or the Allman Brothers, they would much more fun at home while you are away. No pets, flyers, umbrellas or laser pointers.

5. While your is screaming for a concert video, it will have to go without. No professional still cameras, no audio or video taping.

6. Sharp wit is not included. No sharp or dangerous items (weapons, knives, spiked items, chains, fireworks, pepper spray, mace, etc).

Ok, so what should you bring?

Well bring some canned food - concertgoers are encouraged to bring a non-perishable food item with them to the show. Farm Aid is teaming up with City Harvest to feed the hungriest in New York’s boroughs.

I also suggest that you bring cash for the good food that will be available through concessions. Our concert will be the first major music event to serve local, organic and family-farm foods to the crowed, artists, crews and VIP’s backstage.

And save some cash for Farm Aid merchandise. You will love the shirts and hats…. I get two or three every year.