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Crews putting finishing touches on Farm Aid 2019

EAST TROY (WKOW) — This Saturday, some of the music industry’s biggest performers will be playing their hits to help struggling farmers.

This year, the Farm Aid music festival is being held at Alpine Valley south of East Troy.

Before Farm Aid can kick off the day of music and fun, an army of people are hard at work to get everything ready.

But you have to feed that army.

“The food is real food, grown by real farmers with love, and we cook with love,” Sonya Dagovitz, the culinary director of the festival said.

Dagovitz plans what food will be served to staff, musicians and guests.

But before the meat can hit the grill, it has to fit very specific criteria.

“Local or non-GMO or IPM [Integrated Pest Management],” she said. “It has to hold an ecological value with a fair price paid to the farmer. Period. Or we don’t serve it.”

All the food served comes from dozens of farmers around Wisconsin and northern Illinois.

The venue at Alpine Valley was a specific choice, so the festival could get closer to the farmers they’re hoping to help.

“We’re in a place that really gets us,” Ron Stern, the festival’s producer said. “Urban people get us but in a different way. These people know what we’re about and especially this year with all the dairy farm issues.”

Stern has been producing the show for 34 years.

He has the task of getting it set up in just a few days and making sure it runs smoothly.

His backup is a group of men and women who are passionate about helping out with Farm Aid.

“There’s something better and more meaningful, not that there’s anything wrong about working with Sting and the Rolling Stones but this has meaning and these roadies get it they love coming here,” Stern said.

Francisco Almenara

Reporter, WKOW

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