Neil Young Backs Out of Farm Aid Over COVID-19 Concerns

"I don't want to play until you feel safe, and it is indeed, safe"

Photo: Joshua Peter Grafstein

BY Calum SlingerlandPublished Aug 19, 2021

Neil Young has been getting down to business in the "the barn" with Crazy Horse lately, and he's now announced that he will not perform at the 2021 edition of Farm Aid, due to concerns about the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

In a post on his Neil Young Archives site yesterday (August 18) Young wrote, "I find myself wondering whether Farmaid will be safe for everyone with the Covid pandemic surging. I worry about that. I don't want to let anybody down, but still can't shake the feeling that it might not be safe for everyone. I worry about audiences coming together in these times."

"All you people who can't go to a concert because you still don't feel safe, I stand with you," he continued. "I don't want you to see me playing and think it's safe now. I don't want to play until you feel safe, and it is indeed, safe.

"My soul tells me it would be wrong to risk having anyone die because they wanted to hear music and be with friends."

Young, who is a Farm Aid co-founder and board member, added of fellow board members and performers, "While I respect [Willie Nelson], [John Mellencamp] and [Dave Matthews]'s decisions to stick with it and play, I am not of the same mind. It is a tough call."

Farm Aid 2021 takes place September 25 in Hartford, CT. While a number of extensive in-person concert tours have been announced in recent weeks, Young now joins Stevie Nicks, Limp Bizkit and more in canceling planned dates.

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