Neil Young announced he’s dropping out of this year’s Farm Aid Festival due to concerns about the surging COVID-19 pandemic.
Young, who is a perennial fixture of the Farm Aid lineup and a co-founder of event and member of the organization’s board of directors, explained his thinking in long post on his website Neil Young Archives that at times felt like a stream of consciousness.
Lots going on in our world right now. I find myself wondering whether Farmaid will be safe for everyone with the Covid pandemic surging. I worry about that. I don’t want to let anybody down, but I still can’t shake the feeling that it might not be safe for everyone. I worry about the audiences coming together in these times. The show is sold out.
All you people who can’t go to a concert because you don’t feel safe, I stand with you. I don’t want you to see me playing and think its safe now. I don’t want to play until oyu feel safe, and it is indeed, safe.
My soul tells me it would be wrong to risk having anyone die because they wanted to hear music and be with friends.
No matter where you are, I am with you. Do what you must but think it through. We will be back. There is much work to do.
Since we know vaccinated people can catch and spread Covid, I worry about the children who could become infected after Farmaid just by being with someone, maybe a parent, who caught the virus at Farmaid and didn’t know it. There are already too many children in hospitals.
While I respect Willie, John, and Dave’s decisions to stick with it and play, I am not of the same mind. It is a tough call.
As time passes, I hope the path ahead will become clear.
Farm Aid 2021 is still scheduled to take place at the Xfinity Theatre in Hartford, Connecticut on September 25th with a lineup that includes Willie Nelson & Family, John Mellencamp, Sturgill Simpson, Dave Matthews & Tim Reynolds, Margo Price, Nate Rateliff & The Night Sweats, Tyler Childs, Bettye LaVette, Jamey Johnson and more.