Galleries > Farm Aid 30


"The legacy of Farm Aid is twofold: in the change we've made in our farm and food system, and in the rich musical records of concerts held since 1985. The list of artists who have played on the Farm Aid stage is a who's who of the best artists of our time."  – John Mellencamp



I've been to some good concerts over the years. The best have mostly been in small venues, a club in Asheville with Richard Thompson, another with John Lee Hooker. I once heard a low country blues player named Cooty Stark who put on a show for a group of photography geeks that had everyone dancin' and a'shoutin'.

I generally don't do big although I remember a great Dylan concert in the Charlotte Coliseum and John Prine in the Asheville Civic Center. But even those, with ten or twenty thousand people, didn't closely compare to the magnitude of Farm Aid 30.

This was totally new to me. The production and logistics. The crush of people and sheer size of it. Ear-splitting high notes and body-shaking bass. The smell and taste of the air, the sweetness of tobacco and pot. It went on most of the day. Maybe 40,000 people.



The crowd was infectious with positive energy. Loud, boisterous, dancing, singing, screaming for more. Our group of six official Farm Aid photographers had our own pit area that was spacious in comparison to the main photo pit where 15-20 shooters wrestled for spots. The whole area was patrolled by a security man in a red shirt and earphone - a very large, serious man who scowled throughout the day and communicated by nudging you along with his massive shoulders. He was sort of scary. But at one point of the day, hours into the concert, he came up behind me, letting me know he was there with a touch. I turned to him, thinking I was in the way of something, but, instead, he looked me in the eye and handed me a hot dog. It was that kind of day.