Farm Aid 2014 Rocks Raleigh

Farm Aid 2014 press conference. Photo: Frank Whatley
Farm Aid 2014 press conference. Photo: Frank Whatley

Farm Aid 2014 Rocks Raleigh, Draws Awareness to Farm Issues

The Grey Area news staff are thankful to the Farm Aid organization for providing us with access during this event. It was an incredible event to cover, and by bringing our families along it made for an excellent day of music, food, information, and enjoyment! — Frank and Kay Whatley

Farm Aid 2014 hit Raleigh, NC on September 13, 2014.  Frank Whatley of The Grey Area news was on-hand to cover the annual event.

Stage set prior to press conference for Farm Aid 2014, 11am Saturday, September 13, 2014. Photo by Frank Whatley
Stage set prior to press conference for Farm Aid 2014, 11am Saturday, September 13, 2014. Photo by Frank Whatley

 

Farm Aid 2014 press conference. Photo: Frank Whatley
Farm Aid 2014 press conference. Photo: Frank Whatley

 

Red Headed Stranger himself, Willie Nelson, takes the stage for the Farm Aid 2014 Press Conference. Photo by Frank Whatley.
Red Headed Stranger himself, Willie Nelson, takes the stage for the Farm Aid 2014 Press Conference. Photo by Frank Whatley.

 

During Farm Aid 2014 Press Conference, Willie Nelson and John Mellencamp. Photo by Frank Whatley.
During Farm Aid 2014 Press Conference, Willie Nelson and John Mellencamp. Photo by Frank Whatley.

 

Vollmer Farm rep (Bunn NC) was invited to speak alongside other farmers during the Press Conference at Farm Aid 2014 ... Several farmers shared their stories about issues faced due to government, commercial, or corporate actions. Photo by Frank Whatley.
Vollmer Farm rep (Bunn NC) was invited to speak alongside other farmers during the Press Conference at Farm Aid 2014 … Several farmers shared their stories about issues faced due to government, commercial, or corporate actions. Photo by Frank Whatley.

 

Press conference speaker on discrimination at Farm Aid 2014. Photo by Frank Whatley.
Press conference speaker on discrimination at Farm Aid 2014. Photo by Frank Whatley.

 

John Mellencamp and Willie Nelson at the Farm Aid 2014 Press Conference, Raleigh NC at the Walnut Creek Amphitheatre. Photo by Frank Whatley.
John Mellencamp and Willie Nelson at the Farm Aid 2014 Press Conference, Raleigh NC at the Walnut Creek Amphitheatre. Photo by Frank Whatley.

 

Farmers had their chance to talk at the Press Conference. Farm Aid 2014 is about farmers, and their voices needed to be heard on the issues. Photo by Frank Whatley.
Farmers had their chance to talk at the Press Conference. Farm Aid 2014 is about farmers, and their voices needed to be heard on the issues. Photo by Frank Whatley.

 

Early moments of Farm Aid 2014 as concert-goers arrive. Photo by Frank Whatley.
Early moments of Farm Aid 2014 as concert-goers arrive. Photo by Frank Whatley.

 

Bunn NC Wildcat in the crowd of concert-goers coming through the gates at noon for Farm Aid 2014. Photo by Frank Whatley.
Bunn NC Wildcat in the crowd of concert-goers coming through the gates at noon for Farm Aid 2014. Photo by Frank Whatley.

 

Crowd coming through gates at noon, making their way around the outside food/exhibit area at Farm Aid 2014. Photo by Frank Whatley.
Crowd coming through gates at noon, making their way around the outside food/exhibit area at Farm Aid 2014. Photo by Frank Whatley.

 

Variety of craft beer vendors served Farm Aid 2014 attendees, providing choices from smaller breweries than most events. Photo by Frank Whatley.
Variety of craft beer vendors served Farm Aid 2014 attendees, providing choices from smaller breweries than most events. Photo by Frank Whatley.

 

Beginnings of a crowd on the Walnut Creek Amphitheater lawn, early afternoon at Farm Aid 2014. Photo by Frank Whatley.
Beginnings of a crowd on the Walnut Creek Amphitheater lawn, early afternoon at Farm Aid 2014. Photo by Frank Whatley.

 

Jesse Lenat getting Farm Aid 2014 crowd going at the Walnut Creek Amphitheater (Raleigh NC). Photo by Frank Whatley.
Jesse Lenat getting Farm Aid 2014 crowd going at the Walnut Creek Amphitheater (Raleigh NC). Photo by Frank Whatley.

 

Farm Aid 2014 crowd along the food, vendor, and media area which ran around the outside of the stage/amphitheater. Photo by Frank Whatley.
Farm Aid 2014 crowd along the food, vendor, and media area which ran around the outside of the stage/amphitheater. Photo by Frank Whatley.

 

Future fans at the Farm Aid 2014 benefit concert in Raleigh NC. Photo by Frank Whatley.
Future fans at the Farm Aid 2014 benefit concert in Raleigh NC. Photo by Frank Whatley.

 

For those seated far from the main stage, screens ensured they had a good view of the musicians at Farm Aid 2014. Photo by Frank Whatley.
For those seated far from the main stage, screens ensured they had a good view of the musicians at Farm Aid 2014. Photo by Frank Whatley.

 

Farm Aid 2014. Photo by Frank Whatley.
Farm Aid 2014. Photo by Frank Whatley.

 

Todd Snyder on stage at Farm Aid 2014. Photo by Frank Whatley.
Todd Snyder on stage at Farm Aid 2014. Photo by Frank Whatley.

 

The Farm Aid Experience

By Frank and Kay Whatley

The Farm Aid 2014 concert in Raleigh gave local residents a chance to support small farms, gave local farmers a voice, and let all of them enjoy great music and concessions.

The event day started with an 11am press conference. Farm Aid’s founders — Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp, Neil Young — and Dave Matthews joined local farmers in speaking to the press, covering issues farmers face.

Even after three decades of Farm Aid, farmers still face some of the same issues. Small farms still need support, which Farm Aid strives to provide year round, and through its unique concert experience.

Following the press conference, the crowd of concert-goers entered the gates and it was on! We were there.

Once inside the gates, my family and I found tons to do! Farm Aid 2014 combined the best of a county fair, a concert, and a farmers market!

The concert line-up combined a variety of musicians, assuring that there was something for just about everyone. While the music played, the path around the stage was full of activity.

We walked around through most of the concert, enjoying the music booming, and occasionally checking out the stage. There was just so much to do! We sampled from the special concert menu, which listed the local farms’ names alongside food descriptions. Homegrown Concessions® by Farm aid were served throughout the event, providing good local food for a few bucks more than a person would spend for the normal festival junk food. We knew that whatever we selected, it would be local, non-GMO, free range, or all three. The NC paw paw Italian Ice was so tasty, we had it after lunch and dinner.

In addition to eating our way through the festival, the family and I also checked out the expo and attended presentations given by local farmers.

By mid-afternoon, we were sitting on hay bales learning how to make pepper jelly. There were chairs, but why? Bales seemed appropriate! We sat listening to farmers from Two Chicks Farm (Hillsborough) teaching how to make pepper jelly from fresh garden peppers.

The organizers expected, and received, a large crowd. They planned accordingly, arranging for dishes and utensils to be recyclable to minimize trash generated by the event. Volunteers helped people throw things into the right bins. Plus, trucks full of water were available freely to those with reusable water bottles to further minimize waste.

For our family, their concessions will be the food by which every other festival will be measured. Hopefully more venues will move to local food, and recycling all utensils. If it can be done for the audience at Farm Aid, other events could do it too! Can you imagine the boon to local farms?

 

John Mellencamp at Farm Aid 2014. Photo: Frank Whatley
John Mellencamp at Farm Aid 2014. Photo: Frank Whatley

 

John Mellencamp at Farm Aid 2014. Photo: Frank Whatley
John Mellencamp at Farm Aid 2014. Photo: Frank Whatley

 

Farm Aid 2014 crowd. Photo: Frank Whatley
Farm Aid 2014 crowd. Photo: Frank Whatley

 

Dave Matthews, Neil Young, and John Mellencamp join Willie Nelson at the Press Conference, 11am, Saturday, September 13, 2014. Photo by Frank Whatley.
Dave Matthews, Neil Young, and John Mellencamp join Willie Nelson at the Press Conference, 11am, Saturday, September 13, 2014. Photo by Frank Whatley.

 

About Frank Whatley 18 Articles
Founder of The Grey Area News and staff photographer, Frank Whatley set the direction for the newspaper and news site.