Bob Dylan goes electric again during a surprise set with The Heartbreakers at Farm Aid 2023

Mike Campbell (L) and special guest Bob Dylan perform in concert during Farm Aid at Ruoff Home Mortgage Music Center on September 23, 2023 in Noblesville, Indiana
(Image credit: Gary Miller/Getty Images)

Eric Clapton's Crossroads Festival wasn't the only all-star guitar action happening in the US on the weekend (23 and 24 September). Bob Dylan proved he's still as unpredictable as ever; nobody could have foreseen one of Farm Aid's founders would return to the annual festival for his first appearance since 1985. And playing electric guitar with The Heartbreakers, no less!

Dylan hasn't performed with a guitar for some time, possibly due to arthritis. However, the 78-year-old was back playing licks on a sunburst Telecaster during a three-song set that saw him play favourite Maggie's Farm standing before renditions of Positively 4th Street and Ballad Of A Thin Man, backed by Mike Campbell and his Heartbreakers bandmates at Ruoff Home Mortgage Music Center in Noblesville, Indiana. 

This year's Farm Aid was headlined by Willie Nelson, but also saw performances from fellow Farm Aid founders Jon Mellencamp and Neil Young, plus sets from Sturgill Simpson with Margo Price, String Cheese Incident, Ann Wilson, Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats, Lukas Nelson, The Black Opry, Bob Weir and Dave Matthews

Rob Laing
Guitars Editor, MusicRadar

I'm the Guitars Editor for MusicRadar, handling news, reviews, features, tuition, advice for the strings side of the site and everything in between. Before MusicRadar I worked on guitar magazines for 15 years, including Editor of Total Guitar. I've currently set aside any pipe dreams of getting anywhere with my own songs and I am enjoying playing covers in function bands.