Citing personal reasons, Neil and Pegi Young announced this week they were calling off the Bridge School Benefit Concert for 2017. The charity festival has been one of Shoreline Amphitheatre's premier events for more than 30 years, drawing a rolling lineup of top artists.
In a letter posted to the Bridge School website, Neil Young thanked a wide range of people involved in the festival, which started in 1986 and has been held almost every year since. In that time, the festival has served as the main fundraiser for the Hillsborough-based Bridge School, which aids individuals with severe speech and physical disabilities.
"We have earned millions of dollars and the school is stable financially," Young wrote. "I know the concerts have become part of the Bay Area landscape and we were all there together. I appreciate being part of it."
In his letter, Neil Young said he would no longer host the concert festival in future years, which could spell trouble for the concert's viability. The announcement on the Bridge School website left it unclear whether the festival would continue.
The festival and school have both been deeply personal projects for the Youngs whose son, Ben, was born with cerebral palsy. Pegi Young founded the Bridge School in 1986, the same year the first festival was held. The festival benefited greatly from Neil Young's star power, and his music industry connections attracted top-tier artists. Performers over the years have included David Bowie, Simon and Garfunkel, Sheryl Crow, The Who, Jerry Garcia, Eddie Vedder and Bruce Springsteen.
Neil and Pegi Young divorced in 2014.