Willie Nelson's Farm Aid plea: We're still in a desperate situation
Country legend Willie Nelson has corralled several other artists to perform at Farm Aid, the longest-running benefit concert in the country, which has raised over $39 million to help small family farmers to keep their operations.
"We're still in a desperate situation with our farmers and the land and the big corporations taking over farms and ruining the soil with chemicals and pesticides," Nelson told the Kansas City Star. "It's been going on for so long. I think the biggest problem is with politicians who either don't know about it or don't care. At one time there were more than 8 million family farms in this country. We're down to less than 2 million. Farmers are not having a good time at all, and things aren't getting better."
Farm Aid, which also helps to educate people about the Good Food movement, will be held at the Livestrong Sporting Park in Kansas City, KS on August 13. There will also be a webcast on the official website.
This year's lineup includes Nelson, John Mellencamp, Neil Young, Dave Matthews, Jason Mraz, Hearts of Darkness, John Trudell, Jamey Johnson and Jakob Dylan, among others.
"You wish we didn't have to do it, but you're glad you are able to do it, and you're glad people are willing to help you," Nelson continued. "Over the years, literally thousands of musicians have donated their time and services to Farm Aid. This year, it's the same thing. There's a great lineup of talent from all over the world coming to play for nothing."
In July, Nelson was told he would not be able to settle a recent marijuana possession charge with a simple fine.
Nelson was arrested on November 26, after six ounces of marijuana was found aboard his tour bus in Texas at a Border Patrol checkpoint. The singer was arrested along with three others and held briefly for a $2,500 bond before being released.
Hudspeth County Judge Becky Dean-Walker said that Nelson should be charged with misdemeanor marijuana possession, which can carry up to a year in jail, according to the Associated Press. Nelson and his spokesperson have not commented on the matter.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Nelson responded to his arrest in an email to a pro-marijuana site. The industry paper quotes the singer as saying, "There's the Tea Party. How about the Teapot Party? Our motto: We lean a little to the left... Tax it, regulate it and legalize it."
This was not the first time Nelson has been arrested for possessing the substance. In 2006 he was arrested in Louisiana for possessing 1.5 pounds of marijuana and three ounces of hallucinogenic mushrooms. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to six months probation and slapped with a $1,024 fine.