Share Your Memories of Farm Aid!

Photograph provided by Dave Roesch to Champaign County History Museum

38 years ago Champaign played host to one of the most important events in music history: the first Farm Aid concert. On September 22, 1985, nearly 80,000 people filled Memorial Stadium to hear legendary country and rock performers, and to raise money to support family farmers facing the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.

History students at the University of Illinois are collecting memories, photographs, and artifacts of this pivotal event in our community’s history. Materials that we collect will go to the Champaign County History Museum (CCHM), so that future generations can continue to learn about this important history. In 2025, to mark the concert’s 40th anniversary, the CCHM will partner with the Spurlock Museum to create an exhibit about our community’s participation in Farm Aid.

Join Us for the History Harvest!

We will be hosting a public “History Harvest” to collect stories and materials related to Farm Aid. This free event will take place on Saturday, April 1, from 3 pm to 7 pm, in Memorial Stadium’s 77 Club.

Did you attend the concert? Did you work there? Do you remember the farm crisis of the 1980s? Do you have photographs or other materials that you would like to share? Please come to the History Harvest and help us tell the story of Farm Aid in Champaign!

Our team of history students is ready to record your memories as part of the Champaign County History Museum’s oral history collection. We are also equipped to make digital copies of any photographs, documents, or other artifacts that you would like to contribute to the museum’s online Farm Aid collection.

Getting to the 77 Club at Memorial Stadium

For driving directions to Memorial Stadium, click here.

Free parking directly adjacent to the stadium (abutting the northern end of Grange Grove) is available in Lot 36. This lot is accessible via 1st Street. Overflow parking is available in State Farm Center Lot 35.

A detailed parking map is available here.

The 77 Club is an indoor event space located on the stadium’s 6th level, with a stunning view of the playing field where the concert took place. To get to the 77 Club, enter Memorial Stadium at Gate 16 (located on the west side, near the Red Grange statue). Signage will direct you to the elevators, and to the 77 Club.

Members of the History Harvest team will be positioned on site to help make sure you find your way to the right place.

What is History Harvest?

History Harvest is a collaborative community history project that brings historians, students, and community together to collect, preserve, and share Champaign-Urbana‚Äôs history. Our History Harvest initiative was founded by the late Kathryn Oberdeck, who taught at the University of Illinois, Urbana – Champaign for many years. The initiative draws inspiration from the work of colleagues at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, where the original History Harvest project began. You can read more about previous UIUC History Harvest projects here, and explore the University of Nebraska’s History Harvest project here.

Would You Like to Know More?

This project is coordinated by Associate Professor Dan Gilbert. Feel free to contact Dan (gilbertd@illinois.edu) with any questions. We look forward to hearing from you!