Farm Aid concert details
Farm Aid Teleconference
Got pretty close to talking to the Neilster today -- but even though
I didn't, I did get to listen to him... I was in on a Farm Aid
preview teleconference set up for media.
by Lisa By The Fire Barrett
They had divided the conference into 15 minute segments with various Farm
Aid performers and organizers. You were allowed to ask a question related
to Farm Aid or farming in general. Neil and Willy were first up.
Neil said that Farm Aid's political agenda is to drive an ammendment
of the US Congress' "Freedom to Farm Bill" passed in 1996. It took the power
out of the hands of the farmers themselves, giving them no price control.
Hence prices are low, driven down through Agri-Business. Farmers aren't the
ones making a profit from the products. The result is that the Bill is putting
them out of business.
Neil said farmers are planning on going to the Capitol on the Monday following
the Farm Aid concert, to raise
their concerns about the bill. That's why the concert is being held at the
the Nissan Pavillion, close to DC. He asked that people talk to their
congressmen, contribute to Farm Aid, and buy organic.
Neil also said reporters need to do some investigative type reporting on what's
going on with the Farmers. That they should stop merely touching on the issues,
they should report what's really going on. He said he wasn't impressed with the
Then he said he had to get going because he was in the studio!!
Willy took over and said that the Farm Aid organizers are in for the
duration and will do whatever it takes -- but that they are sick of
the need for Farm Aid. It shouldn't be such a needed organization.
They are the only ones out there who are there to listen to the farmers.
The farmers have no one to turn to.
I stayed on the line and listened to the other performers:
Someone asked Mellencamp about choosing a setlist for a Farm Aid
concert. He said that, although Neil feels differently (and they have
talked about it), he himself feels that a concert is not the place to challenge
the audience. "It's not my job to preach or wave my fist." He said he feels
people come to the concert to be entertained and he wants them to leave with
a smile on their face. He said an album would be more suited to challenge
an audience musically.
- Steve Earle, who said his grandfather and family owned a peach farm
in Texas. Now it's a Christmas tree farm run by his uncle.
- Susan Tedeschi, whose family lost their dairy farm.
- Tyler from Barenaked Ladies, Deana Carter , and Trisha Yearwood
(all on at the same time).
- John Mellencamp at the end.
Mellencamp also got into a little rant about how MTV is for 13-year-olds,
and that they don't play anyone whose been in the business long.
There was also talk about how it would be cool to sell videos of past Farm
Well, nothing earth-shattering, but I thought the teleconference was cool and
thought I would share it with my rusted friends.
A Launch story on the teleconference.
A Spin summary of the teleconference.
A Wall of Sound story built around the comments at the conference.
A Jam Music report of Willie's comments.