Bringing Music and Messages to the Masses
Farm Aid may be known for its annual music and food festival celebrating family farmers, but Vanguard supports all aspects of this national organization’s communications strategy to promote a family farm-centered system of agriculture in America and help farmers thrive. We employ integrated media strategies to disseminate Farm Aid’s messages and have developed relationships with key reporters who cover intersecting beats, from agriculture to entertainment. Vanguard coordinates the massive media operation at the all-day music and food festivals, from managing artists to promoting ticket sales to orchestrating live television coverage. A component of this effort is managing media access to celebrities such as Farm Aid Board Members Willie Nelson, Neil Young, John Mellencamp, Dave Matthews and Margo Price, as well as other music mega-stars such as Chris Stapleton, Sheryl Crow, Jack Johnson, Alabama Shakes and Van Halen.
In the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Farm Aid 2020 became an at-home experience. With the loss of a local market to target and promote the show, the Vanguard team leaned heavily on established national media relationships and built a new partnership with Good Morning America (GMA). On September 1 that year, GMA, with help from Farm Aid Board Members Dave Matthews and Margo Price, announced the upcoming event. Farm Aid artists Jack Johnson and Eric Burton from the Black Pumas appeared live on GMA and provided a pre-recorded joint performance of the Black Puma’s hit song “Colors.” The GMA partnership accounted for nearly 50 million impressions between three shows and accompanying online stories. Additionally, Farm Aid founder Willie Nelson appeared on NBC’s Today show with correspondent Harry Smith, and festival host and Grammy award-winning musician Jon Batiste discussed the event on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. In total, “Farm Aid 2020: On the Road” was mentioned in more than 1,319 print, online and broadcast media stories, amassing more than 1.5 billion impressions.