Farm Aid started as a benefit concert on September 22, 1985, in Champaign, Illinois, held to raise money for family farmers in theUnited States. The concert was organized by Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp and Neil Young, spurred on by Bob Dylan's comments atLive Aid earlier in that year that he hoped some of the money would help American farmers in danger of losing their farms through mortgage debt.
The first concert was at University of Illinois' Memorial Stadium in Champaign on September 25 before a crowd of 80,000 people. Performers included Bob Dylan, Billy Joel, B.B. King, Roy Orbison, among others, and raised over $9 million for America's family farmers.