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Liberty Centennial Suspected as Competitor : Farm Aid II Gifts Far Less Than Hoped

July 06, 1986|Associated Press

MANOR, Tex. — Farm Aid II raised about $500,000 in pledges, far less money than Farm Aid I, and organizers of the all-day Fourth of July concert said Saturday that the Statue of Liberty centennial was a prime suspect in the low pledge total.

Farm Aid I, staged in Illinois last September, brought in $9 million and convinced organizer Willie Nelson that a second show could raise at least as much to help struggling farmers.

Early Saturday, as the Fourth of July show drew to an end, concert spokeswoman Margaret Wade estimated that $500,000 in donations had been called in to the toll-free contribution line.

Costs Covered Beforehand

She said 40,000 tickets sold for the 18-hour show at a small horse race track also brought in $800,000. "The show is paid for," she said, adding that almost all of the $1.3 million is profit for the Farm Aid fund.

She said the $9 million raised at Farm Aid I did not all come in on the day of the show, but acknowledged that Farm Aid II's take would wind up far below $9 million.

Wade said the Fourth of July--"especially when it's the Statue of Liberty's birthday"--might not have been the best day for the show.

Cable network VH-1 televised the entire Farm Aid II show, opposite major network coverage of the Statue of Liberty centennial celebration.

Show Watched by Needy

"The people who watched this show and called in are the people who need the money. The people who could afford it probably watched the Statue of Liberty," Wade said.

Nelson, who acknowledged the phone lines were less busy than he had hoped, said more money is needed to help family farmers being forced from their land.

He said he had wanted to raise at least as much as Farm Aid I.

"According to the way the phone calls are coming in, I'd have to confess we're not approaching that now," the singer said as the show entered its final hours.

May Try Again

He talked of the possibility of a Farm Aid III, and organizers refused to consider that the $9 million raised at Farm Aid I was a one-time phenomenon.

"As Willie says, 'All I know is people go to church every Sunday and put something in the plate,' " Wade said.

There were about 100 arrests, almost all for minor offenses, at the show at Manor Downs. Medical workers said about 700 people were treated, most for heat-related problems. Temperatures hit the mid-90s at the quarter horse track near Austin.

The site was picked after problems forced moves from the University of Texas' Memorial Stadium and an open-air concert site south of Austin.

Nelson opened and closed the show. About 75 music acts entertained, including John Cougar Mellencamp, Waylon Jennings, Neil Young, the Beach Boys, Kris Kristofferson, Rita Coolidge, Emmylou Harris and Dave Mason.

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