Looking Back: Farm Aid 2019

Rock & Roll And A Whole Lotta Ponchos

September 23, 2019

Kitty Dunn Photo


Rain makes it hard to plant seeds and plow the fields--and it also proved to be a major annoyance to music fans gathered at Alpine Valley Saturday for Farm Aid 2019. I never knew that so many varieties of cheap rain ponchos existed!

Here are some more of my thoughts from a soggy day of music:

PERFORMANCES: There were a lot of musical highlights, but my favorites were Neil Young and Promise of the Real, Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats, and Bonnie Raitt. Neil was the only artist that really talked about the farmers, and played some great tunes. "Rockin' In the Free World" is often a concert closer, but this time he followed it up with "Roll Another Number," a song I've never seen him play live before. At age 86, Willie Nelson was starting to show his age but managed to remain standing for his whole  set--which is more than I did!

MOMENT THAT GAVE ME CHILLS: When Willie's son Lukas Nelson and the Willie Nelson Family Band played "Texas Flood," I figured it was a tribute to Stevie Ray Vaughan whose last show was at Alpine Valley before he was killed in a helicopter crash. Turns out they play that one at just about every Farm Aid, but you can't take away the feeling it gave me at the time.

MISSED OPPORTUNITY: Why didn't they sell Farm Aid logo ponchos? They could have sold them for big bucks! I admit I would have paid a bundle for some dry socks later in the night.

BETTER THAN THE GYM:  It has been awhile since I'd been to the venue in East Troy for a concert, so I forgot that walking the grounds was like doing the treadmill at its highest incline. They really know how to put the "Alpine" in Alpine Valley.

COINCIDENCE? When John Mellencamp was singing "and the walls came tumblin' tumblin'," an overserved fan lost his footing and almost fell on top of me. I told him (not so politely) to tumble down somewhere else.