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Wednesday, June 14, 2017

It's Official: No Bridge School Benefit Concert in 2017

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It's now official -- there will be no Bridge School Benefit Concert this year, per a statement on the Bridge School website.

Letter from Pegi Young
Dear Friends of Bridge School:

The Bridge School Benefit Concert, traditionally held at Shoreline Amphitheatre, will not be held in 2017. We want to express our sincere and profound thanks to all of you for your love and support, demonstrated by way of your attendance at 30 years of Bridge School Benefit Concerts. They have been truly memorable events and we have great appreciation for everyone who has been involved beginning, of course, with Neil Young and including all the many artists who have been so generous with their time and talent; the production people who have made it all possible; Elliot Roberts and the team at Lookout Management as well as Marsha Vlasic, who have been so instrumental in booking the shows all these years; the Bridge School staff and families and last, but certainly not least, the audience to whom the show has brought such enjoyment over these many years.

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.

On behalf of the Bridge School family, I wish to thank you again from the bottom of my heart for your love and support as we work to bring opportunities and "participation through communication" to our student population here at home and around the world.

With peace, love, and sincere gratitude.

Pegi Young

Co-Founder and President of the Board of Directors, Bridge School
Message from Neil Young

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
A sad day indeed for so many, but much to cherish from the memories of past and all that has been accomplished these past 30 years.

More on last year's 2016 Bridge School Benefit Concert (reviews, photos, videos, etc.).

Also, see The Essence of Bridge School Benefit Concerts. (Incidentally, FWIW, this is why we do what we do here @ TW.)

Also, see our Memories & Reflections on Our 2015 Bridge School Benefit Concerts Weekend.


Neil, Pegi & Ben say "Good Night. Thanks for coming. We love you all."
(Click images to enlarge)

Because -- as everyone knows -- the annual pilgrimage to the Bridge School Benefit Concerts was a life altering and transcendental experience.

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19 Comments:

At 6/14/2017 10:49:00 PM, Blogger mark said...

sad, ....... but understandable
As a famous blogger often says, 'things that can't go on forever, won't.
I'll have to be satisfied with the memories of making it to Shoreline a couple of times,
and the transcendent music that poured forth.
Long live the Bridge School.

 
At 6/15/2017 12:18:00 AM, Blogger Alan said...

Sad, but so many good years. I just hope it's not a health issue causing this.

 
At 6/15/2017 12:37:00 AM, Blogger Babbo B. said...

He was in fine form trading harp licks with Mickey Raphael at Willie's birthday show in April, he looked great in those photos from the Capitol recording session last weekend, he's been working on the movie with Daryl and Adam Vollick, he's playing Farm Aid in September - I certainly have no inside knowledge, but doesn't really seem like someone in poor health.

 
At 6/15/2017 06:01:00 AM, Blogger Richard Siciliano said...

Sad news for sure, though I don't really think that it's a health issue. Rather, I think it's more of an "we're still real uncomfortable around each other" deal with Neil and Pegi.

I remember noticing at last year's Bridge that, at least the night I went, Pegi was coming from stage right and Neil was coming from stage left, consistently. Matter of fact, after jamming with both Roger Waters and Mettallica, Neil started walking off with them towards Pegi's side, but quickly turned around and headed the other way. I thought it was pretty funny at the time, but obviously it turned out to be a bad omen.

I really hope they can both figure a way to work this out, and not end what has become a great, and worthy, Bay Area tradition.

 
At 6/15/2017 06:47:00 AM, Blogger medward said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 6/15/2017 06:48:00 AM, Blogger medward said...

nothin' gold can stay, right? Glad I was able to make it out there a couple of times

 
At 6/15/2017 09:12:00 AM, Blogger wsanjose01 said...

wow fairly devastated at this news. As a alumni of somewhere around 19 years of shows sometimes both days (99,00) unimaginable to me. It certainly was a awesome run. As Ive said on here before even acts you may have expected to not dig that much or maybe never heard of were nearly always enjoyable. For me the cause was equal to the bands performance. I still remember how disappointed I was to lose out on the 1986 lottery for tickets. I just took it for granted it would out live me.

 
At 6/15/2017 09:29:00 AM, Blogger Dan Swan said...

Change is the one constant in life, yet it is the one thing we resist the most. I was never able to attend any of these shows but have always supported the noble and important cause being honored. It is indeed sad to see such a beautiful and enriching experience come to an end, but there are clearly issues that we are not privy to, yet I accept their decision with sadness.

 
At 6/15/2017 09:31:00 AM, Blogger Neil and Play said...

Can anyone enter that void and help build a Phoenix out of the ashes? I am a 27 year special education teaching veteran who currently works with non verbal autistic students. It is a true calling and a reminder of the thoughts shared by Los Lobos in their song Little Child of God. I know how strong the bay area music scene has been throughout history and I am confident they will answer the call to action. Neil and Peggy must be emotionally exhausted from the amazing 30 year ride. Time for the younger generation to pick up the torch of The Bridge School. Much love to all who open paths for those left at the side of the road.

 
At 6/15/2017 09:39:00 AM, Blogger Sand Cowgirl said...

So sorry to hear of this. Even though it's no surprise, it's sad to see the end of such beautiful series of events. I attended in 2013 and witnessed a wonderful gathering of people for a great cause. For me, one of the best parts was watching the kids enjoy themselves on stage. Things change, and we must move with the changes. Thankful for all the happy BSB memories...

 
At 6/15/2017 10:03:00 AM, Blogger Jonathan Neal said...

This leaves me quite empty and saddened... an annual tradition, never missed before. But I wouldn't be surprised if this were just a temporary hiatus. Don't take this as a permanent end. He's old, and I wouldn't be startled if he doesn't have a great relationship with his ex-wife. But he always comes back to the things he loves: Crazy Horse, CSN, solo-acoustic, whatever. The Bridge School and its show are some of those things. He always comes back. Still, it's a hard one to stomach.... although these changes have come.

 
At 6/15/2017 10:48:00 AM, Blogger Jonathan said...

"for personal reasons beginning this year I will no longer be hosting The Bridge School Concert"...that's Neil's direct quote....sounds permanent to me....sigh

 
At 6/15/2017 12:58:00 PM, Blogger Dan1 said...

As Joni said so eloquently, "don't know what you've got till its gone" ... a sudden change brings much perspective - some thoughts 1) Neil and Pegi are incredible people for doing this year after year for 30 years into their 70s 2) The kids were blessed as were all of us to be part of this incredible institution 3) Neil and Pegi's marriage was a pillar of strength, 30 years is forever in show biz, it was seemingly so solid we all probably took that for granted 4) Big reminder to appreciate that Neil is still creating cause that won't last forever either, I'm going to try to bitch less (even about this seemingly endless break from touring) and appreciate more 5) Looking back, what an incredible event they created a who's who of the best musicians donating their time and talents to play unplugged for us ... only a very, very determined and mission driven artist could twist so many famous arms to pull this off and for so long 6) The fans made it possible by supporting it and building such an incredible community around the event ... for those who made it a pilgrimage and for the kids so so sad to see it all wind down ... Neil and Pegi, thank you for your big hearts and for your unconditional giving for decades!!

 
At 6/15/2017 05:35:00 PM, Blogger Thrasher Wheat said...

Obviously, the Bridge School has touched many over the years.

@Dan - nice comment and just featured on our post today of our Bridge memories through the years @

http://neilyoungnews.thrasherswheat.org/2017/06/remembering-warmth-love-of-bridge.html

bittersweet, but mostly sweet...

 
At 6/15/2017 06:02:00 PM, Blogger Giles Mac said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 6/15/2017 06:10:00 PM, Blogger Giles Mac said...

I agree, why do they not pass it on to someone younger to keep it going? Regardless of Neil and Pegi's age, marital status and good health etc., it is important that this event and cause continues long after them both and i'm sure Neil and Pegi both agree on this. The event could be curated by someone different each year indefinitely until Neil and Pegi return back to it. Indeed, I think the Bridge School Board should propose that Neil and Pegi give someone else the honour of being the official curator for the 2017 Bridge School Benefit. Jeff Tweedy or Eddie Vedder come to mind. I can imagine both would respect the role and carry the torch and do a sterling job on behalf of Neil and Pegi. Both have been emotionally touched by their Bridge School work and are good souls.

 
At 6/15/2017 10:24:00 PM, Blogger TOM said...

Neil does what he wants when he wants.
Always has,
Always will...

 
At 6/16/2017 03:00:00 PM, Blogger Dan1 said...

Thrasher, thanks! Honored to have my comment profiled on TW!!

 
At 6/17/2017 10:10:00 PM, Blogger Jesús Pacquiao said...

Very sad news. I'll keep rewatching and rewatching those amazing Crazy Horse acoustic concerts.

 

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