Saturday, September 20, 2008

Erin talks about her Farm Aid concert experience

Farm Aid has randomly gotten a lot of new staff this year, and now, for Anna, Kari, Hilde, Joanna, Matt, and myself, it is our first concert. Thus far, from my perspective at least, this year’s concert seems to be going really well.

Yesterday, we were all busy at the venue all day. Joel, Ted, and Hilde were checking in exhibitors at the HOMEGROWN Village all day and setting it up -- there are hay bales and corn stalks everywhere, and big piles of pumpkins. It looks pretty awesome and smells, well, like a farm.

Wendy, Carolyn, Glenda, and Jen had a lot of important stuff to do, like preparing for the press event and the TV broadcast. This is all broadcast live this year on national TV, and everything needs to be perfect. Matt, meanwhile, was readying everything for the TV webstream, broadcasting the show live at

Anna had a ton of volunteers arriving who needed to be briefed and receive their credentials. Cornelia’s dealing with artist hospitality and had to get everything prepared for that -- dressing rooms, food, etc. Joanna’s also been dealing with artists -- checking them in upon arrival and such, so she was here late and people began to arrive and do their sound-checks. Kari was busy all day planning our “Farm Aid Eve” event at the Charles Hotel in Boston.

Me? I was running around all day dealing with random things, like finding a replacement for a volunteer bus and pointing leftover volunteers towards Joel and the HOMEGROWN Village.

In the evening, those of us without evening plans headed over to the Charles for Farm Aid Eve. It went off fabulously, though it was a bit chilly. The food was from chef Peter Davis Henrietta’s table, which serves all local, and was absolutely delicious, and the decorations were beautiful. Will Dailey, who also played today, provided the music. The highlight, perhaps, was John Mellencamp walking in in the middle of Carolyn’s speech to interject with his own speech, but it was all great.

Afterwards, a few of us had stuff to finish up at the venue, and we happened to get back just in time to hear Neil Young’s soundcheck. Awesome.

This morning was our press event, which was enthusiastic and crowded, which I think is the general goal. Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick came and our Massachusetts commissioner of agriculture, Doug Petersen, came over, too. I just gave him a tour of the whole venue, with some historic (been with us forever) Farm Aid farmers, David Senter and Corky Jones.

Meanwhile, the food is local and great, and the music is even better. It’s packed and sunny here, and such a gorgeous day.


  1. I tuned in to farm aid live on direct tv just a bit ago, and caught Crissy Hines' performance. I am not a peta fan, but i respect thier opnion. After all, this is America. But this is also " Farm Aid", is it not? Do the performers and organizers not understand that most of us farmers grow feed for livestock and actually MARKET livestock for food??? I was completely stunned. A concert for farmers and farm families, with a message from one of the participants that we are in the wrong doing something that our forefathers made a living at. I may never get over that one. And to say the packing plants should be burned to the ground? Again, i think she is entitled to her opinion, and on any stage in the world. But at FARM aid???? Think about it. Thanks for your time.

  2. Anonymous10:38 PM

    No snoop? any scoop?

  3. Anonymous11:04 PM

    I had the privilage to be at Farm Aid last year and have watched it this year on direct tv. It is a wonderful organization. I live amoung family farms and truly understand the need to support and encourage their existance. I do agree that some of the performers do not understand the scope of "family farms". These farms do not just produce the things we eat directly from the farmer's markets. Many family farms grow livestock - from poultry to dairy and beef. Performers should respect all "family farms" and not present their political or personal beliefs at a time that they are requesting support for "family farms".
    I also appreciate John Mellencamp's dedication to Farm Aid but I was offended by his use of the F-word during a family concert.