Neil Young Offers Insight Into Why He Dropped Out of Farm-Aid, Expresses Concern Over Big Concerts

by Keeli Parkey

Neil Young is a founding member of Farm Aid. However, the 2021 concert benefit for America’s farmers will be held without the legendary rock star.

The 75-year-old “Rockin’ in the Free World” singer announced earlier this month that he would not be participating in Farm Aid 2021. At the time, he cited concerns over the increase of coronavirus cases and the Delta variant as reasons why he would not perform.

In a recent post on his website, Neil Young further explained his reasoning for not participating. He said that he is particularly concerned for the health and safety of children.

“Recently I pulled out of Farm Aid for fear that unprotected children may become infected with Covid by folks who went to the show, caught the virus, had no symptoms, and returned home to hug their kids or someone else’s kids,” Young said. “I felt that we didn’t know what we were up against and we were endangering others, unprotected innocent children in particular.”

The “Hey Hey, My My” singer said he believes that concerts continued to be held for “money and business.”

“These two needs each other,” he elaborated. “This has been the American way for years and years. Now it has turned on the country in a new way.”

Neil Young Praises Performers Who Have Canceled Live Shows

Neil Young also praised other performers who have decided not to move forward with concerts due to the coronavirus. He specifically mentioned a country music superstar.

Garth Brooks and others like him have been responsible and pulled back from doing more shows,” Young shared. “That’s a good example.”

Neil Young also called on concert promoters to stop holding concerts while COVID-19 is spreading. In fact, he referred to these large concerts as “super spreaders.”

“The big promoters, if they had the awareness, could stop these shows. Without that, everyone just keeps going like everything is OK. It’s not,” Young wrote. “Live Nation, AEG and the other big promoters could shut this down if they could just forget about making money for a while….. They control much of the entertainment business. They hold the power to stop shows where thousands congregate and spread. It’s money that keeps it going. Money that motivates the spreading. The big promoters are responsible for super spreaders.”

He then referred to such concerts as “irresponsible Freedom Fests.” And added a warning: “We need Freedom to be safe. Not a bad example. This could be just the beginning.”

Farm Aid 2021 Set for Sept. 25

According to the event’s website, Farm Aid 2021 is still moving forward (as of Aug. 28). The event will take place on Sept. 25 in Hartford, Connecticut.

Even without Neil Young, the concert has a very strong lineup slated to perform. Unsurprisingly, some of the event’s other founders will take the stage. They are Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp, and Dave Matthews. Others slated to perform are Tyler Childers, Margo Price, Jamey Johnson, and more.