Can you imagine raising $12.75 million dollars over 10 years through a series of benefit concerts? Well it can be done and Neil and Pegi Young’s Bridge School has done it! Of course Neil Young can call on the best in the business to perform but that is only a small part of it. The event plays over two 8 hour long concerts at Shoreline, a huge out door amphitheater, in San Francisco and the 20,000 or so audience is usually sold out in hours of tickets going on sale. People come from all over the world. Of course for the music….which is extraordinary… this year featuring Neil Young and his new band ‘Promise of the Real’ which includes Lucas and Micah Nelson, Willie’s sons, the newly reformed Dixie Chicks, Sheryl Crow, Ben Harper, Ryan Adams, St Vincent, Gary Clarke Junior, Spoon and Nils Lofgren (playing Neil Young’s piano which he played on the album ‘After the Gold Rush’!).
However the audiences come to help the school as much as hear the eight hours of fabulous music. There are people who have been coming every year and they are as keen to hear the stories of the kids and their families (who are on stage with the performers for the whole concert) as they are to enjoy the performance.
Neil and Pegi created the school in 1987, with the idea that children with severe physical and speech impairments, like their son Ben, should have an equal opportunity to have access to education and to communication. The generosity of donors, and the musicians who give their time, has meant that the school has been able to develop an internationally recognised program that has set the standard for educating children, partnering with parents and disseminating what they have learned through a global outreach network.
And it is one of the best weekend of music, in the warmest atmosphere possible you could ever attend…a totally win-win situation. Their next goal is a 50 Million dollar endowment program and they are well on the way to achieving it! Check out their website https://www.bridgeschool.org for more information.