Neil Young has withdrawn from the 2021 edition of Farm Aid over COVID-19 concerns, as Consequence of Sound points out. The musician, who is a Farm Aid board member and co-founder, broke the news on his Neil Young Archives website earlier today (August 18). “I find myself wondering whether Farmaid will be safe for everyone with the Covid pandemic surging,” Young wrote. “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.” He added: “I don’t want to play until you feel safe, and it is indeed, safe.” Young also mentioned that festival is sold out. Find his full announcement here.
As of this writing, Young is not listed on Farm Aid’s official lineup. The roster does currently include Farm Aid board members Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp, and Dave Matthews. “While I respect Willie, John and Dave’s decisions to stick with it and play, I am not of the same mind,” Young wrote. “It is a tough call.”
Young also spoke of his concerns over vaccinated attendees potentially spreading the virus to children. “There are already too many children in hospitals,” he wrote. “My soul tells me it would be wrong to risk having anyone die because they wanted to hear music and be with friends.”
Revisit “What Does a Music Festival During a Pandemic Look Like? We’re About to Find Out” on the Pitch.