Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Farmaid Cash Harvest Still Uncertain

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Farmaid Cash Harvest Still Uncertain

Article excerpt

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) - Financially strapped American farmers reaped publicity from FarmAid, but the immediate cash harvest was less than $10 million from the big-name benefit concert that rocked theheartland with country, blues and rock 'n' roll.

""It went great. I'm real happy. It exceeded my expectations,'' Willie Nelson, the driving force behind FarmAid, told The early Monday as he boarded his bus to leave the stadium after the marathon concert.

Nelson said telephone pledges during Sunday's concert totaled about $5 million, according to Walt Adams of The Nashville Network, a cable system that carried 12 hours of the concert live to 25 million subscribing households.

Another $4 million was raised before the first note sounded, through ticket sales and corporate donations. Concert organizers had said earlier they hoped to raise up to $50 million to help the nation's struggling farmers.

Concert publicists said they expected the flow of FarmAid money to continue, by telephone and mail, for weeks or even months.

An audience of more than 78,000 packed the University of Illinois football stadium, weathering hours of rain with good humor. They danced, swayed and sang along to 14 hours of music that ranged from the hard rock of the Blasters and Eddie Van Halen to the classical country of George Jones, the blues of B.B. King and the vintage '60s rockabilly of Roy Orbison.

More than 50 performers and groups donated their talents to FarmAid.

""Thank you very much for coming to the concert for America,'' Nelson shouted as the show began on a stage flanked by huge banners reading ""Keep America Growing.''

The rain began soon after the concert started, but most of the audience shrugged it off.

""A once-in-a-lifetime thing like this, how could you miss it?'' said Ken Lewis of Bloomington. ""What's a little rain? We'll dry out tomorrow.''

The downpour stopped in time for prime-time performances. …

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