John "Invites" Tavis Smiley to Host Farm Aid 25


Farm Aid Board Member John Mellencamp Makes Public Invitation Asking Smiley to Host Annual Benefit Concert

CAMBRIDGE, Mass.—Award-winning broadcaster Tavis Smiley has been tapped by Farm Aid, the country’s leading champion for family farmers, to host the organization’s 25th anniversary concert, which will celebrate the positive, sustainable future that family farmers are growing through their hard work every day.

Smiley was personally invited to be the Master of Ceremonies for Farm Aid 25: Growing Hope for America by Farm Aid board member and co-founder John Mellencamp during his visit to Tavis Smiley on PBS last week in Los Angeles. The two share a connection to the Hoosier state. Smiley and Mellencamp first met at Indiana University, Smiley’s alma mater, and have stayed in touch ever since.
“John Mellencamp’s genius continues to cement his imprint on the world of heartland rock,” says Smiley. “I am nothing but humbled that one of the founding members of Farm Aid, a man who understands you have to serve the people, would ask me to host this landmark concert celebrating twenty-five years of raising awareness for America’s farmers.”

Smiley will host Farm Aid 25: Growing Hope for America on October 2 at Miller Park in Milwaukee. The all-day benefit concert will feature Farm Aid board members Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp, Neil Young and Dave Matthews, who will be joined by Kenny Chesney, Norah Jones, Jason Mraz, Jeff Tweedy, Band of Horses, The BoDeans, Amos Lee, Robert Francis, and more artists to be announced.
“When we held the first Farm Aid concert twenty-five years ago, we thought that would be it. One show and we’d raise enough awareness to fix the problem. Well, this is our 25th year and we’ve made a lot of progress, but there is still a lot that needs to be done. I know Tavis can help us share that story and help America understand that family farmers are the cornerstone of this country,” said Mellencamp.

The all-day festival will be a celebration of music, family farmers and good food and will again feature HOMEGROWN concessions—family farm-identified, local and organic foods. Farm Aid’s HOMEGROWN Village will showcase hands-on activities that give concertgoers a chance to meet farmers, get their hands dirty and learn how family farmers are growing good food, protecting our natural resources and connecting us to our roots.

“We are honored that Tavis Smiley will be hosting our 25th anniversary concert,” said Carolyn Mugar, Farm Aid’s executive director. “Farm Aid and Mr. Smiley have a common goal to highlight the good work of people across the country to transform America. Mr. Smiley’s mission to enlighten, encourage and empower is very much in the spirit of family farmers and Farm Aid.”

Tickets for Farm Aid 25: Growing Hope for America are available at the Miller Park box office, by phone at (414) 902-4000 or online at Ticket prices range from $39.50 to $97.50, including facility fee. For those outside the Milwaukee area, the concert will be broadcast live on DirecTV’s The 101 Network.

About Tavis Smiley
Tavis Smiley is host of the nightly talk show TAVIS SMILEY on PBS and “The Tavis Smiley Show” from PRI. Smiley launched America I AM: The African American Imprint, a world-class exhibition celebrating the extraordinary impact of African American contributions to our nation and the world in early 2009. The exhibit is on a four-year, 10-city tour. Smiley is also the author or editor of 14 books, including The New York Times best-sellers Covenant with Black America and What I Know for Sure: My Story of Growing Up in America, and his most recent, Accountable: Making America As Good As Its Promise. For more information, visit

About Farm Aid
Farm Aid’s mission is to build a vibrant, family farm-centered system of agriculture in America. Farm Aid artists and board members Willie Nelson, Neil Young, John Mellencamp and Dave Matthews host an annual concert to raise funds to support Farm Aid’s work with family farmers and to inspire people to choose family farm food. Since 1985, Farm Aid, with the support of the artists who contribute their performances each year, has raised more than $37 million to support programs that help farmers thrive, expand the reach of the Good Food Movement, take action to change the dominant system of industrial agriculture and promote food from family farms.