Celeb Causes - Willie Nelson's Farm Aid
The name might bring images of an old fart belting out country songs but Willie Nelson is not just known for his musical talents. Willie has been doing charity for decades. One of his better known charity events is Farm Aid.
After the UK's benefit concert, Band Aid, Willie organized the first Farm Aid benefit concert in '85. With the help of Neil Young and John Mellencamp they raised money for struggling farmers and their families in the US. Since then he's held a Farm Aid concert every year. The list of musicians that have performed is impressive. Some of them are Trisha Yearwood, Deana Carter, The Dave Matthews Band and Barenaked Ladies. So far the charity has raised over $12 million.
Willie recently put on a musical for charity with female vocalist Maryann Price. "The musical production is just one of many charity benefits Mr. Nelson hosts each year," says Maryann. "Benefit productions, such as these, enable us to touch the lives of those whose needs are immediate. I'm proud of our efforts to make this benefit possible and I applaud those who help make it a reality."
Last year Willie won the 2000 B.B. King Blues Hero Award. In honor of B.B. King, one of the biggest legends in the Blues industry, the award has been around since '97. Every year the Blues Foundation presents it to an artist who has done community service and charity work during their career. As the winner of this award, Willie received a cash reward which will be donated to the charity of his choice. Of course Willie chose Farm Aid.
Willie was born in Texas and has been singing since he was a kid. After putting out more than 100 albums, Willie was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1993. Some of his more popular tunes include On the Road Again and Mamma Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys, which he did with Waylon Jennings, and of course the ever-popular Crazy sung by Miss Patsy Cline. Willie has also been in a few movies including Wag the Dog. It just goes to show that someone who used to sell Bibles and encyclopedias door to door doesn't let fame go to his head.