It's just a little more than two weeks until Farm Aid 2013 and the energy is high around the Farm Aid office. It's crunch time, and many details have to come together in the next two weeks. It's hard work to pull off an event like the annual Farm Aid concert, but for those of us who work at Farm Aid year-round, it's the best time of year!
The lineup on the stage is set and the scenic, rigging and lighting has been mapped out. We're working with a number of photographers to put together the images for the video set that will be the backdrop for the amazing music on the Farm Aid stage. The photos will reflect the farmers and agriculture of New York State, good food, and the reason Farm Aid exists in the first place. Artists are letting us know when they're arriving on site in Saratoga Springs and we're scheduling sound checks and set times. We're organizing their airport pickups and bus load-ins and making sure they have hotel reservations, tickets and backstage credentials. We're coordinating dressing rooms and backstage catering.
We're mapping out the speakers for the press event that kicks off show-day. The message they carry sets the tone of the day – it's a balance of celebration, appreciation, rallying for change, and fighting the powers that threaten the fulfillment of our vision of family farm-centered agriculture. We're organizing shifts and tasks for the hundreds of volunteers who make the Farm Aid concert possible, from the folks who help out in catering to the Green Team who helps us make sure we create as little waste as possible through our recycling and composting efforts. We have to organize right down to the detail of what time the truck arrives to pick up our compost material and how long it will be until that material becomes the "black gold" that will help a farm or urban garden grow. Our awesome t-shirt designs are finalized and merchandise is being screen-printed on organic cotton tees.
HOMEGROWN Village exhibitors are finalizing their exhibits that will inspire, inform and engage 25,000 people on September 21. Times for HOMEGROWN Skill Shares are being set so that concertgoers can take part in fun activities like making cheese and bacon and spinning llama wool for handmade friendship bracelets. Farmers are picking the apples and pears that will be served at our HOMEGROWN Youthmarket. The menus for HOMEGROWN Concessions are being finalized, and the last ingredients secured from family farm sources. The official Farm Aid 2013 app is being approved and will be up in the Apple and Android stores soon! The live webcast and the live broadcast on SiriusXM are being promoted and planned so that everyone, no matter where they are, can take part in the day.
And that's just half of the things that are being worked on! I didn't mention the farm tours, farmer meetings, film screening and after party (but you can read more about those here!).
The frenetic work of putting together a concert like Farm Aid means long, and often late, hours but it's a labor of love. And it isn't just staff members at Farm Aid, but people across the country working to put on the best Farm Aid yet. In the coming weeks, we'll be interviewing and posting guest blogs from those folks, to give you an idea of how the Farm Aid concert comes together. It takes a community, that's for sure, and we think we've got one of the best communities of amazing people out there.
We invite you, too, to tell us how you're getting ready for Farm Aid 2013, whether you're joining us in person at SPAC or watching and listening from home. We want to know what your road to Farm Aid looks like, and what you do in your daily life to support family farmers and good food. Share your photos, videos, status updates, etc. on your social media outlet of choice, and tag it #Road2FarmAid. And, as an added bonus, we've just announced a contest with the grand prize of two front row tickets! Together, as a community, we'll paint a picture of what this crazy concert means to all of us and inspire others to take action to rally for family farmers in their own communities and at their own tables.
Farm Aid's vision is for eaters and farmers working together to transform agriculture. We know you share this vision; we want to know how you're working towards it. We're all in this together, and it sure as heck isn't going to happen without all of us pitching in.
We look forward to seeing you on the Road to Farm Aid—we couldn't ask for better traveling companions!