Farm aid for the first time is a multifaceted experience-by it’s very nature, the event is a different world each time, highlighting the host region’s unique offerings-and thus there are many different adventures to be had.
Arriving as I did, with a primary objective to capture as much of the event as possible, (be it video, photo, observation or interaction), I had a particular slant to my whirlwind – and intermittent rain storm – of a day…
I met organizers, dedicated, passionate, kind and human; genuine interactions on offer from the first parking attendant through the media check-in and escorted entry. Stories shared with each individual along the way, it was both efficient and so personable it would be easy to forget one was on the job.
In the media tent, print and video journalists from a wide swathe of nations comingled amiably, sharing their excitement, their professional and-as the hours went on-their personal histories as well.
At the press conference, the focus was on the family farmers, the advocates, the mission. Appreciation for those who fight the good fight. This was not a celebrity showcase- it was a panel of compatriots, united.
As the avenues filled and the vendors opened, it began to take on the appearance of a stadium concert and yet- at every turn, one encountered a Homegrown stall, a seminar, a family legacy. Seemingly endless opportunities to learn, to share, and to eat & drink to your heart’s content.
The crowd at the amphitheater itself, from the lawn to the VIP boxes, danced and sang along, making friends of their neighbors to the left and right… and yes, handed out business cards- because this is an event that draws people together in good times and good business.
There is much to say besides- I was privileged to be celebrating a colleagues birthday with a live Jack White and Neil Young background, for example- but my ultimate novitiate take is this: there are many roads to farm aid, and there are many more “first times” at Farm Aid in my future.