Farm Aid Performers Stricken After Visiting Willie Nelson’s Bus

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CAMDEN, N.J. – Several Farm Aid performers exhibited symptoms of extreme dizziness and incoherence during the eleven-hour fund raising concert at the Tweeter Centre yesterday. At first concert promoters feared the worst, an outbreak of food poisoning from the organic food VIP tent.

“That would have screwed the pooch big time,” said John Mellencamp, who founded Farm Aid with Willie Nelson and Neil Young more than two decades ago.

“I mean, how would it look if people raising money for farmers got sick on the food those farmers produced?”

The first sign of trouble came from Warren Haynes of Government Mule, who required assistance working the lock on a Port-o-Potty in the backstage area. Soon after that, about 5:30 p.m., protest singer Steve Earle slumped to the ground while signing autographs outside his van.

“People didn’t know whether to shit or go blind,” drawled one member of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. “I thought they were going to close down the VIP tent.”

Before that remedy could be effected, however, the cause of the slurred speech and tottering gait was identified: Willie Nelson’s bus.

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The discovery came during a backstage interview when country singer Shelby Lynne appeared to be having trouble putting sentences together and following the line of questioning. Ms. Lynne, who looked for all the world as if she were having a stroke, giggled and said to the interviewer, “I was just on Willie’s bus.”

The interviewer didn’t seem to catch the reference to Mr. Nelson’s celebrated pot bust two weeks ago, when he and four members of his entourage were caught with a pound-and-a half of weed during a routine vehicle inspection stop in Louisiana.

Fortunately Neil Young, who overheard Ms. Lynne’s comment, knew what she was talking about.

“I ran over to Willie’s bus and there was so much smoke around it I thought he had the motor running,” said Mr. Young. “When I opened the door, I got an immediate contact high. I sent people to assure Warren and Steve that they hadn’t been poisoned. I would have told Willie to cool it, but the next thing I knew, I couldn’t talk either.”

In related news, although reporters included Jerry Lee Lewis’ name on the list of those stricken backstage at Farm Aid, Mr. Lewis’ manager said his client’s shuffling gait and halting speech “are just the way he goes these days.”    

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