Willie Nelson’s annual music and food festival Farm Aid is coming to Connecticut for the first time this September and picked up a few new acts, including Chris Stapleton.
Farm Aid 2018, set for Saturday, Sept. 22, at XFINITY Theatre in Hartford, will feature performances by Farm Aid board members Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp, Neil Young, and Dave Matthews with Tim Reynolds, as well as Chris Stapleton, Sturgill Simpson, Kacey Musgraves, Margo Price, Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real, and Particle Kid. Additional artists will be announced later this summer.
This year, the organization undertakes the planning of Farm Aid 2018 in an economic climate similar to the one that sparked the first Farm Aid concert. Net farm income has dropped 53 percent since 2013 and median farm income is expected to be -$1,316 in 2018. In New England alone, more than 10,000 family dairy farmers have gone out of business since 1970. Farmer stress is growing, and a 2016 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that the suicide rate for people working in agriculture, fishing, and forestry is nearly five times that of the general population.
“Family farmers are the backbone of our country,” Farm Aid President and founder Willie Nelson said. “But today, they are endangered. Whether we live in cities like Hartford or the rural areas of New England, each of us has the power to create positive, lasting change in our farm and food system, and strengthen farm families to help them stay on the land for generations to come.”
Connecticut agriculture ranks third in New England in farm sales, contributing up to $4 billion to the state’s economy. Farming and food production generate 21,000 jobs in Connecticut annually and provide environmental and social benefits that significantly enhance communities’ quality of life. Hartford County, where Farm Aid 2018 will take place, represents a rare bright spot in the country, having gained more than 100 farms since 2007.
Farm Aid 2018 festivalgoers will experience family farm agriculture firsthand via Farm Aid’s HOMEGROWN Concessions and the HOMEGROWN Village. HOMEGROWN Concessions showcases family farm-sourced ingredients at all food stands, including the HOMEGROWN Youthmarket, which sells fresh local fruit and more, and is operated by young people involved in farming and farmers markets. HOMEGROWN Concessions includes recycling and composting (utilizing compostable serviceware and packaging) with a goal of zero waste. Farm Aid’s HOMEGROWN Village features hands-on activities about soil, water, energy, food, and farming.
Tickets for Farm Aid 2018 will go on sale Friday, June 29, at 10 a.m. EDT. Ticket prices range from $54.50 to $279.50 and will be available for purchase at LiveNation.com and by phone at 800-745-3000. A limited number of pre-sale tickets will be sold beginning at 10 a.m. EDT on Tuesday, June 26, at farmaid.org/festival.