After doing it for 30 years, Neil Young has revealed that his Bridge School benefit concerts are no more. "Although I will continue in fund raising efforts, for personal reasons beginning this year I will no longer be hosting The Bridge School Concert," he wrote in a statement on the Bridge School's website (full statement below). Neil's ex-wife Pegi, co-founder of the Bridge School, added, "Because our mission is of such great importance to so many, we proceed onward with optimism into the future. Stay tuned for updates as we begin to shape what the next steps will be in reaching our endowment goals."
The Bridge School "is a non-profit organization whose mission is to ensure that individuals with severe speech and physical impairments achieve full participation in their communities," and over the years the benefit concerts have included David Bowie, Lou Reed, Brian Wilson, Bruce Springsteen, Metallica, Guns N' Roses, Arcade Fire, Wilco, Willie Nelson, Bob Dylan, and several others.
In more positive news, Farm Aid, the annual benefit concert founded by Neil, Willie Nelson, and John Mellencamp, has announced its 2017 lineup. It happens this year on September 16 at KeyBank Pavilion in Burgettstown, Pennsylvania and, in addition to all three of its founders, it includes The Avett Brothers, Sheryl Crow, Valerie June, Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real, Insects vs Robots, and more (including returning Farm Aid alumni Dave Matthews and Jack Johnson). Tickets are on presale now and the public on-sale begins Friday, June 23 at 10 AM. Full lineup below.
Willie Nelson is also doing his Outlaw Music Festival Tour this year, which includes some of the same artists playing Farm Aid.
NEIL YOUNG'S BRIDGE SCHOOL BENEFIT STATEMENT
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.
FARM AID -- 2017 LINEUP
Dave Matthews & Tim Reynolds
The Avett Brothers
Lukas Nelson & Promise Of The Real
Insects vs. Robots