Farm Aid 2023 at Noblesville, Indiana on September 23,2023
This year’s Farm Aid, the 38th, was held this past Saturday the 23rd of September at the Ruoff Music Center in Noblesville, Ind. in front of a raucous crowd of 23,000 plus. It will surely be remembered as one of the greatest of all these gatherings started by Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp, and Neil Young in 1985 as a way to help inform the public at large about the problems facing the American farmer and to help facilitate and provide assistance to the farmers.
Each musical act brought a level of intensity and a sense of purpose that was beautiful to behold. The stage featured The Wisdom Indian Dancers and Native Pride Productions, Clayton Anderson, The Black Opry featuring Lori Rayne, Tylar Bryant and Kyshona, Particle Kid, The String Cheese Incident, Allison Russell, Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, Lukas Nelson and POTR, Bobby Weir & Wolf Bros featuring The Wolfpack, The Jim Irsay Band featuring Ann Wilson of Heart, Margo Price, Dave Matthews (performing with Tim Reynolds), John Mellencamp, Neil Young and Willie Nelson. It also featured a surprise guest appearances from Sturgill Simpson who played with multiple acts and a surprise appearance by Bob Dylan who performed three songs with members of Tom Petty’s Heartbreakers before Nelson’s performance.
The tone was set at the traditional news conference before the show which featured Farm Aid board members Nelson, Mellencamp, Matthews, and Young (the other board member Margo Price was missing because of a tour bus breakdown) along with several farmers and Farm Aid officials. The discussion on stage included climate change and how farmers can have a positive impact on this issue because of their farming practices, the corporate greed of big farming and how it exerts constant and relentless financial pressure on family farms, the lack of diversity in agriculture due to the systemic racism of our country and what we can do to combat it, and how the consumer holds enormous power to help promote positive change by their food choices and purchases.
The messaging throughout the day through all of the activities and artist talks that were taking place concurrently with the music centered on those four talking points and how it was imperative for all of us as individuals here in America to get involved locally to help bring about the change we want to see.
Couple all of this with the inspiring performances put on by all of the artists, one was left at the show’s end as Willie Nelson traversed the stage and blew kisses at the crowd, with the very real impression that all of us together really can make a difference.
Check out all of the official photographs of the event here: https://www.farmaid.org/festival/farm-aid-2023-videos-photo-gallery/
Check out their mission here: https://www.farmaid.org/our-work/