Well this is some sad news for fans of live music and children.
Neil Young's annual Bridge School Benefit Concert has reportedly been sent out to pasture. The 30-year-old, always star-heavy acoustic concert usually took place every October at the Shoreline Amphitheater. It was also mentioned ad nauseam on KFOG, and fussed over by legions of Bay Area Baby Boomers.
The Bridge School was founded by Young and ex-wife Pegi to provide special education for students with severe speech and physical impairments. It's world-renowned for its use of augmentative and alternative communication, and technology. The Youngs' own son Ben, now an adult, is quadriplegic with cerebral palsy, and they started the school in 1986 to help him and students like him.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, benefit founder Neil and Pegi won't do the concert this year and don't plan to do it again. In an online post made public yesterday, Young announced:
"Although I will continue in fundraising 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."
Pegi Young hinted to the Chronicle that the concerts couldn't go on forever, saying, "We know we can't do this forever. We are mere mortals. We really need to look at ways the school can continue to go on after the concerts."
The concert's end might be due in part to Neil Young's mystery illness that forced him to pull out of an April 7 appearance inducting Pearl Jam into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The undisclosed illness was described to Pitchfork as "nothing major," so who knows. It's none of our business. We wish Neil Young the best. He seems nice.
The Bridge School Benefit has been host to some incredible performances over the years, from the likes of David Bowie, Paul McCartney, Elvis Costello, Tom Waits, Green Day, The Dixie Chicks, Brian Wilson, Pearl Jam, and Metallica, as well as semi-regular reunions of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young (the last in 2013). The musicians would often do covers or team up for duets. Attendees could count on extraordinary once-in-a-lifetime performances at this annual event. Also, and this can't be said enough, KFOG lived and breathed the Bridge School Benefit.
Who knows? Maybe someone will take the helm and keep the concert going. It seems like a good project for Eddie Vedder.
Related: Video: The Dixie Chicks Cover Lana Del Rey's 'Video Games' At The Bridge School Benefit