Watch Neil Young Perform At 1st Farm Aid
Young will appear at this weekend’s annual charity concert he co-founded for the first time since 2019.
On September 22, 1985, Neil Young, Willie Nelson and John Mellencamp hosted the first Farm Aid charity concert in Champaign, Illinois. By the mid-1990s, Farm Aid had become a perennial all-star live music event raising proceeds and awareness for family farmers.
Farm Aid produced impressive lineups of musicians year after year, with Young, Nelson, Mellencamp, and newest board members Dave Matthews and Margo Price, consistently participating in the charitable festivities.
Young has not appeared in person at Farm Aid since 2019. The COVID-19 pandemic forced the event to go virtual in 2020, which saw Young join the livestream. However, the 77-year-old chose to sit out Farm Aid 2021 and Farm Aid 2022 out of concerns caused by the pandemic.
Young has since waded back into public performing and will host a pair of 50th-anniversary concerts at The Roxy in Los Angeles ahead of his Farm Aid appearance. Like his recent run of intimate solo concerts, Young’s name appears unattached to any backing band on the Farm Aid 2023 lineup.
Back on September 22, 1985, Young was backed by The International Harvesters, a group whose 10-piece lineup at the time consisted of bassist Joe Allen, acoustic guitarist Joel Bernstein, backing vocalist Matraca Berg, banjoist Larry Cragg, multi-instrumentalist Anthony Crawford, drummer Karl T. Himmel, pedal steel guitarist Ben Keith, pianist Hargus Pig Robbins, backing vocalist Tracy Nelson and fiddler Rufus Thibodeaux.
Neil Young & The International Harvesters set at the first Farm Aid saw the crowd at the University Of Illinois’ Memorial Stadium treated to a short setlist consisting of an opening solo performance of “My My, Hey Hey (Out Of The Blue)” before full band takes on “Heart Of Gold” and “This Old House.” Country legend Waylon Jennings come out for the set closing “Get Back To The Country.” Young’s time onstage at the first Farm Aid also included a duet with Willie Nelson on “Are There Any More Real Cowboys?”
Set: My My, Hey Hey (Out Of The Blue) , Heart Of Gold, This Old House, Get Back To The Country 
-  Neil Young solo
-  with Waylon Jennings
Young will make his long-awaited return to the Farm Aid stage this Saturday, September 23 at Ruoff Music Center in Noblesville, Indiana. A free livestream will be available to watch Young, as well as Nelson, Mellencamp, Price and Dave Matthews with Tim Reynolds.
Others on this year’s lineup include Bobby Weir & Wolf Bros, The String Cheese Incident, Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats, Lukas Nelson, Allison Russell and Particle Kid, The Jim Irsay Band featuring Ann Wilson (Heart), Black Opry Revue (Lori Rayne, Tylar Bryant and Kyshona), Clayton Anderson, Wisdom Indian Dancers and Native Pride Productions.
Donate directly to Farm Aid through the organization’s website.