Farm Aid is coming to KCK's Livestrong Sporting Park

It is a soccer stadium still in the final stages of construction, but a big score has already been made in Livestrong Sporting Park.

Wednesday afternoon at the soon-to-be home of the Major League Soccer team Sporting Kansas City, representatives of the 26th annual Farm Aid, the benefit concert for U.S. family farmers, announced that this year’s all-day show would be held Aug. 13 at the stadium, which has a capacity of 25,000.

Tickets will go on sale at 10 a.m. May 20. Advance tickets are available at farmaid.org to anyone who is a Farm Aid member or becomes a member. Prices start at $29 for general admission. Reserved seats will be $39 to $99. Premium seats will be available for $149.

Three of the original Farm Aid organizers will perform: Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp and Neil Young. Dave Matthews, who jumped aboard the cause in 1995, will also perform. All four are now on Farm Aid’s board of directors. More acts will be announced in the next few weeks. Jennifer Fahey of Farm Aid said the lineup would include at least one local act.

The first Farm Aid was held Sept. 22, 1985, in Champaign, Ill. Among the more than four-dozen performers were Bob Dylan, the Beach Boys, Johnny Cash, George Jones, Waylon Jennings, Joni Mitchell, Lou Reed, Merle Haggard, Roy Orbison and Glen Campbell.

The concert was inspired by Dylan, who, six weeks earlier at the international Live Aid benefit for world hunger, suggested some of that money be used to help U.S. farmers who were losing farms to foreclosures. Since then, the non-profit group has raised more than $39 million promoting family farms and assisting family farmers.

The concert has diminished in size over the years, from stadiums and race tracks to arenas and amphitheaters. In 1989, it toured 16 U.S. cities. In 2009, it was held at the amphitheater in Maryland Heights, Mo., west of St. Louis.

Wednesday’s announcement was the second in several weeks about a major concert event coming to the Legends area of Kansas City, Kan. On April 25, organizers of the KanRocksas Music Festival announced the two-day festival, featuring Eminem, would be held in August at the nearby Kansas Speedway.

Representatives of state and local agricultural groups were on hand as was Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback and Kansas City, Kan., Mayor Joe Reardon.

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