Farm Aid set for Sept. 21 in New York
June 14, 2013 10:50 AM
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ALBANY, N.Y. — Singer Willie Nelson is taking his annual Farm Aid benefit concert to upstate New York with an all-day festival of music and locally grown food in September.

The event in Saratoga Springs, 28 miles north of Albany, will feature Nelson and other Farm Aid board members John Mellencamp, Neil Young and Dave Matthews, as well as other artists to be announced soon. Tickets go on sale to Farm Aid members Tuesday and to the general public June 28, the Farm Aid organization announced today.

The concert will be Sept. 21 at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center.

At a stop in Albany on Thursday, Nelson said the Northeast is fertile ground for new farmers and sustainable agriculture. Farm Aid’s mission is to keep family farmers on the land and support the movement toward healthy, locally grown food, he said.

“There’s a whole lot of small family farmers in upstate New York,” Nelson told reporters on his tour bus in Albany before heading south for an appearance at a country music festival at Hunter Mountain in the Catskills.

“I think this is a great place to try to reach some family farmers.”

Nelson said Farm Aid exists because government agricultural policies often favor large corporate-owned farms rather than small farmers. “Small family farmers really need help; the big corporate farmers are doing OK,” he said.

Nelson said he wants to encourage more young farmers to get back on the land and encourage people to feed their families wholesome food from farms closer to their homes. “More and more people are asking about where their breakfast comes from, why it comes from 1,500 miles away when there’s a farm next door,” Nelson said. “A lot of people are thinking about what we’re feeding our kids. Young people are trying to stay healthy, wondering who’s watching out for our food supply.”

In New York, there’s a heated debate in farm country over shale gas development, which currently is under a moratorium while state officials complete an environmental and health review. Some farmers see gas leases as a solution to their financial struggles, while others oppose gas drilling for fear of accidents causing water and air pollution.

“I’m against it,” Nelson said. “It’s bad for the land, bad for the farmers, bad for the soil. It’s just all-around a bad idea.”

“If farmers could make a good enough living farming, they wouldn’t feel pressured to lease their land for drilling,” said Cara Fraver, an organic farmer from Easton in New York’s Washington County who spoke to reporters on Nelson’s bus.

Farm Aid, which has been held almost every year since 1985, provides concert-goers with a Homegrown Village that features local farmers and foods as well as educational activities related to the Good Food Movement, which promotes humane, organic, sustainable agriculture.

The organization has raised more than $43 million since 1985 to support programs that help small family farms, expand the Good Food Movement and promote locally grown food. Farm Aid has made grants of more than $2.5 million in the Northeast during the past 28 years, according to the organization.

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MANCHESTER, Tenn. — Mumford & Sons has canceled its headlining performance at Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival in Tennessee.

The decision comes after bassist Ted Dwane received treatment this week for a blood clot on his brain.

The band made the announcement on its Facebook page. The band postponed three shows earlier this week after the blood clot was discovered, but hoped to play Bonnaroo on Saturday night.

There is no word on what act will replace Mumford & Sons in the headlining slot in front of 80,000 fans.

Dwane is recovering from the procedure and was not ready to play Saturday.

Rather than perform with a replacement, the London-based Grammy-award-winning folk rock band decided to pull out.

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NEW YORK — The Scottish play isn’t taking much of a break before coming back. Ethan Hawke plans to return to Broadway this winter to play the title role in “Macbeth.”

The Shakespeare tragedy will mark a reunion for Hawke with director Jack O’Brien at Lincoln Center Theater, where he starred in “Henry IV” and “The Coast of Utopia,” for which he was nominated for a Tony Award.

Hawke is currently starring in the horror film “The Purge” and the romantic drama “Before Midnight,” the third film in a series with “Before Sunrise” and “Before Sunset.”

“Macbeth” had its latest incarnation on Broadway in a one-man show by Alan Cumming, which is set to close in July. Patrick Stewart led another cast in 2008.

Performances of Hawke’s “Macbeth” begin Oct. 24. The show is one of four that Lincoln Center Theater announced Thursday for the upcoming season, including the new Bruce Norris play “Domesticated” directed by Anna D. Shapiro and starring Laurie Metcalf.

James Lapine will direct his own adaptation of Moss Hart’s autobiography “Act One” and Doug Hughes will direct the world premiere of The City of Conversation, a new play by Anthony Giardina.

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NEW YORK — Sarah Palin is rejoining Fox News Channel.

The network said Thursday that the former Republican vice presidential candidate has signed on as a contributor to Fox and the Fox Business Network. Her first appearance is scheduled for Monday on the “Fox & Friends” morning show — on the same day CNN is premiering a morning show to great fanfare.

Fox and Palin parted ways in January after she had worked there for three years as a contributor. They had talked about renewing their contract, but it didn’t happen. Money may have been a factor: Palin was signed for a reported $1 million a year when she originally joined Fox less than two years after being John McCain’s running mate.

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