Wednesday, September 25, 2013

This is what we union THUGGs do at Farm Aid

Local 294 members enjoying the show while Jack Johnson was joined by Willie's Son Lukas Nelson. 
We volunteer to transport equipment and musicians to and from the concert.

For the past two decades, Teamsters have volunteered at Farm Aid concerts, providing transportation for the artists and equipment, and for any other requests that come up. This year, members of Teamsters Local 294, led by President John Bulgaro, in Albany did the honors for the 11-hour festival on Saturday.

“Who knows the local area better than local drivers?” said John Hasley, a retired Teamster carhauler and member of Teamsters Local 710 in the Chicago area and Teamsters Local 299 in Detroit. Hasley has attended 16 Farm Aid concerts. He takes the photos of Teamsters volunteering at the event and, of course, the performers.

“This year was excellent and the venue was extraordinary,” Hasley said of Saratoga Springs, New York. “The highlight was 94-year-old Pete Seeger’s performance.”

The annual Farm Aid concert has raised $43 million to help family farmers. This year's concert in upstate New York  featured the three founders of Farm Aid -- Neil Young, Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp -- along with board member Dave Matthews. According to the Farm Aid press statement, they:
...emphasized the critical responsibility of businesses, policymakers — and everyone who eats — to help grow the Good Food Movement. More than 25,000 fans attended the sold-out event, hosted at Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC) in Saratoga Springs, N. Y. 
"Every time we eat, we determine the direction of our food system," said Nelson, president and founder of Farm Aid. "Farmers are doing their part. When we all stand with them and do our part, we can bring about change that's good for all of us."
Rolling Stone reported:
Farm Aid was founded in 1985 by Willie Nelson after he heard Bob Dylan's impromptu comment at Live Aid that some of the money raised should be used to help farmers pay their mortgages. The line incensed Live Aid co-founder Bob Geldof (who felt it was off-message and trivial when compared to the famine in Ethiopia), but Nelson felt differently; just a few months later, he held the first Farm Aid in Champaign, Illinois. 
Watch Neil Young's performance of "Reason To Believe" here, Pete Seeger sing "This Land Is Your Land" here and John Mellencamp sing "Jack and Diane" here. (Or watch Farm Aid's whole youtube channel here.)

And remember, "THUGGs" stands for Those Helpful Union Guys and Gals.