Neil Young Cancels Bridge School Benefit Concert for "Personal Reasons"

Neil Young Cancels Bridge School Benefit Concert for "Personal Reasons"
Photo: Geoff Fitzgerald
For the past 30 years, Neil Young and his now ex-wife Pegi have hosted the annual Bridge School Benefit Concert at the Shoreline Amphitheatre in California — until now.
 
The folk legend has announced that the concert will not be taking place in 2017, leaving the future of the event uncertain.
 
Pegi announced the news via the Bridge School website, thanking everyone for their involvement over the last three decades and saying "we proceed onward with optimism into the future."
 
A statement from Neil, meanwhile, echoes the sentiments of gratitude and explains that although he will continue his fundraising efforts, he will not be hosting the concert in 2017 "for personal reasons."
 
The Bridge School was co-founded by Pegi in 1986 for children with severe speech and physical impairments, after the Youngs were unable to find a suitable educational placement for their own son Ben, who has cerebral palsy. She remains the president of the school's board of directors.
 
The inaugural Bridge School Benefit concert took place in October 1986, and has taken place every year since October 1988. Benefit albums in conjunction with the annual show have been released over the years, most recently a 25th anniversary compilation in 2011, featuring contributions from Arcade Fire, Beck and Eddie Vedder.
 
Read Neil's full statement below.
 
After thirty years of hosting the Bridge School Concerts, I would like to say thanks to everyone involved. Of course, I love the students most of all because the light in their eyes tells me we have been doing the right thing for the last thirty years. We have earned millions of dollars and the school is stable financially, able to go forward although we still need an endowment and would welcome one.
 
Thanks to Pegi Young for coming up with the idea and pursuing it with such great dedication, working for the kids like our child Ben, young children with disabilities who needed more than our education system offered. Our heartfelt thanks and appreciation go to the artists who have been so generous with their time and great performances. Certainly, my love and appreciation go to Executive Director Vicki Casella, who has given 100% to skillfully support and guide the school over the years. Thank you to our wonderful staff, made up of the finest educators I have ever known. I would also like to thank the Board of Directors for their dedicated efforts on behalf of our students and Bridge School mission.
 
My long-time friends, manager Elliot Roberts and agent Marsha Vlasic have been putting these concerts together and gathering the incredible artist line ups year after year. Thanks to you both and to Frank Gironda for all the work you've put into the event. I would also like to thank Tim Foster and the crews he has ably led while handling production of the concerts and making everything so easy for us. Great job Tim.
 
The Bridge School Concerts would never have been possible without Bill Graham and BGP, as well as Another Planet Productions. Thanks to Jerry Pompili and all the people who worked for these production organizations and made our wonderful concerts so easy for everyone.
 
To the Bridge School Community, the folks who attend the concerts year after year bringing their wonderful enthusiasm and love, I say thanks and lots of love to every one of you. You are the soul that kept everything happening for all these years. I know the concerts have become part of the Bay Area Landscape and we were all there together. I appreciate being part of it.
 
Although I will continue in fund raising efforts, for personal reasons beginning this year I will no longer be hosting The Bridge School Concert. I wish everyone the best as the school heads into the future. My heart is with each and every child we have had the honor to serve and those we will continue to serve, and your parents, siblings, and extended families. Thanks to you all for the honor of serving such a great mission. Thanks to my incredible son Ben Young for being there at my side throughout these many Bridge School years. I love you buddy. The Bridge School would not have been possible without you.
 
Neil Young