MWL talks to country star and American Idol judge Luke Bryan about bringing his annual Farm Tour to the Midwest this fall—and his fave state fair foods.

By By the editors of MidwestLiving.com
Luke Bryan

For 11 years, Luke Bryan has been bringing a mega-watt concert to a different kind of arena-family farms. And this year, it's all happening in the Midwest. Luke's 2019 Farm Tour will kick off with a sold-out show at Statz Brothers Farm in Marshall, Wisconsin, on September 26, then roll through Michigan, Ohio, Kansas and Oklahoma (tickets for those shows are still available). The concerts bring traffic and excitement to oft-overlooked rural communities, and for every social media post tagged #HeresToTheFarmer (a nod to Luke's 2016 hit), tour sponsor Bayer will donate a meal to Feeding America.

We chatted with Luke about the tour, his contributions to farm kids' college educations, and his fave state fair foods.

2018 Farm Tour

What was your original inspiration for the Farm Tour?

I wanted to be able to bring a big town concert into a small town. Growing up we always had to travel to get to a big arena sized show. Then when I was able to put a spot light on the American farmer it made it even more meaningful

You've compared the farm concerts to erecting a city. How does the family or community get involved to pull it off?

We spend a lot of time with the family to ensure we are communicating what it will take to pull off a great show. It is like erecting a city – and our goal is to leave the farm as we found it, if not better.

You've donated more than 60 college scholarships to farm kids as part of the tour – what gave you the idea to do that?
American farming is just a hard life and we wanted to leave something behind in each community and this felt like the best way to do that. Hopefully everyone who came to the show left their cares behind for that one night too.

After 11 years, what's your favorite part about playing family farms, compared to traditional concert venues?
Farm Tour is just a different kind of show all the way around. We are setting down a small city on these farms, and our team just has a different level of excitement. The energy level for me goes up as I hit the stage and I can see how we have transformed the pasture land into a full-fledged music festival.

We gave our fans on Instagram the chance to contribute questions. Here are a few:

How do you choose what farms to play?

We have branched into the Midwest now, and this year we are playing all new farms. We have a team of people that research the areas we want to go into. They take a tour of the surrounding area and speak with the farmers and families to see if they are open to us coming in. It is a partnership.

You just played the Iowa State Fair. Corn dog or pork chop on a stick?
Corn dog!

And this one came from a 10-year-old – do you have any pets?
We have a lot of pets! My wife created Brett's Barn on our farm in honor of our late niece Brett who had Congenital Heart Disease (CHD.) Brett's Barn was created to bring awareness and fund treatment options. She started out with just a white pony, but has grown into a wide range of animals: goats, pigs, chickens, llamas and more.

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