INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - The face of Farm Aid has changed since its advent in 1985, moving to smaller venues in the last few years with lineups that no longer read like a who's who among musicians.
Yet the show goes on, this year in Noblesville, still promoting the value of the family farm in America.
A lineup of performers for Saturday's benefit contrasts the enormous lineups that Farm Aid maintained until the early '90s. The number of performers and celebrities dropped from 70 in 1991, when it also played Indianapolis, to 52 a year later. By 1993, the lineup had fallen to only 20.
"We think that audiences like to be more intimate with the artists,'' said Carolyn Mugar, Farm Aid executive director.
Founding musicians Willie Nelson, Neil Young and John Mellencamp will perform alongside Dave Matthews, Martina McBride, Arlo Guthrie, Acoustic Syndicate, the Doobie Brothers, Susan Tedeschi, Jimmy Ryser, Chris Knight, Alice Peacock and Kory and the Fire Flys.
The previous Indianapolis Farm Aid was at the Hoosier Dome in 1991, and included Guns 'N Roses, Elton John and Garth Brooks.
"We're trying to return to the basics,'' Mugar said. "We're just as concerned about getting the message out as ever.''
Farm Aid has awarded nearly $16 million for farm-related causes and education in 40 states and Washington, D.C., since it began in 1985. More than half, about $8.9 million, was handed out the first four years.