The musicians have organized the event to protest the proposed TransCanada Keystone XL pipeline that would cut through the Ponca Trail of Tears in Nebraska. In addition to the historic significance of the trail and imposition on tribal land, locals are concerned by the pipeline's potential for a negative environmental footprint.
Young and Nelson have been protesting the pipeline for months, and will perform at Art and Helen Tanderup's farm outside Neligh, Neb., on Sept. 27.Ten thousand people are expected to attend, and all proceeds will benefit Bold Nebraska, the Indigenous Environmental Network and the Cowboy and Indian Alliance.
"Farmers, ranchers and tribes that have been standing up to TransCanada are rock stars in my eyes," Bold Nebraska director Jane Kleeb said in a statement. "Now we will have the honor to have music legends Neil Young and Willie Nelson stand with us against this risky pipeline that threatens our water and our livelihoods."
President Obama would be required to sign off on the project because the pipeline would cross international borders, and Kleeb said she hopes the president "stands with us over Big Oil."
Young and Nelson are known for their political activism, and have collaborated for years on Farm Aid. The duo organized the first Farm Aid concert for charity with John Mellencamp in 1985 to raise awareness about the loss of family farms.