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Farm Aid coming to SPAC

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Albany/HV: Farm Aid coming to SPAC
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It's known as the biggest benefit concert series in America and this year, it's coming to our own backyard. YNN's Vince Gallagher has more.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. -- It's music with a message.

Artists like Willie Nelson and the Dave Matthews Band are coming to the Saratoga Performing Arts Center this September for Farm Aid 2013.

"We have so many different acts that you don't normally see on the stage together and they come out and they come out and play with each other and they see each other once a year at Farm Aid, so it's a great reunion," said Farm Aid Communications Director Jennifer Fahy.

Other performers include Neil Young and John Mellancamp.

The benefit concert festival has a clear mission: To keep farmers farming.

Fahy said, "The average family farmer makes just under the poverty line and that's why you typically see a farm couple with one of them working off the farm for a steady paycheck."

Not only does Farm Aid help farmers live off the land, it's actually a celebration of the working farms, especially right here in the northeast.

"The fact that we have a strong agriculture sense in the area, we have about 75,000 acres of farm land in Saratoga County, so this is really an opportunity to highlight the needs of farmers," said SPAC Director Marcia White.

"We have a lot of new farmers here in New York and across the northeast and we're really showcasing those new farmers how they're getting on the land, how their being innovative and growing," Fahy said.

Over the past 28 years, Farm Aid has raised more than $43 million for farming programs across the country.

This is the first time the concert has come to SPAC. The music may draw people in, but it is far more than a concert.

" People can meet farmers, learn about making cheese. growing their own food, keeping bees, keeping chickens, all types of fun things," Fahy said.

"I think we have both the public who are interested in the situation and a lot of hard working farms that are helping produce a lot of very valuable products in this area," said SPAC Board Member Bill Drake.

And even if the farming issues across the country are resolved, Farm Aid could very well play on.

Fahy said, "I think we'll still be here because we still need to value the farmers so we continue to make sure that agriculture is a viable thing we all take care of."

Tickets for Farm Aid 2013 go on sale Friday at 10 a.m.

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