Neil Young is stepping away from his hosting duties for the annual Bridge School benefit concert series he co-founded with his ex-wife more than 30 years ago. Just two months after Young no-showed for his induction duties for Pearl Jam at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ceremony, the rock legend cites “personal reasons” for bowing out of the Bridge School Benefit.
Neil Young and his ex-wife Pegi Young broke the bad news with messages posted on the Bridge School website.
Young, who split from his wife in 2014, thanked her for coming up with the idea for the benefit series, which has become a beloved Bay Area tradition. Neil said the benefit helped provide funds for educating disabled children “who needed more than our education system offered.” Young has two sons, Zeke and Ben, who suffer from cerebral palsy. Neil also gave a shout-out to a long list of musicians who helped raise money for the cause by playing at the benefit shows. David Bowie, Bruce Springsteen, James Taylor, Metallica, and more have played acoustic sets at the annual extravaganza.
In his statement, Neil Young was vague about why he is stepping way from the annual benefit.
“For personal reasons beginning this year I will no longer be hosting The Bridge School Concert,” Young revealed.
“I know the concerts have become part of the Bay Area landscape and we were all there together. I appreciate being part of it. I wish everyone the best as the school heads into the future.”
With Neil Young out and the Bridge School Benefit canceled for 2017, there is no word on the future of the beloved concert series.
Many fans wonder if Neil’s split from Pegi has anything to do with his change of tune on Bridge School. Young has hosted several shows since he split from his wife of 36 years, but last fall, Pegi got personal when she released an album, Raw, that detailed the heartbreak she felt when Young ended their marriage and began dating actress Daryl Hannah.
In addition to his personal life, some Neil Young fans are still concerned about his health. While there has been no news that the “Heart of Gold” singer is battling any type of long-term ailment, the mystery surrounding the undisclosed illness that caused him to bow out of inducting his good friends Pearl Jam into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has some people worried that there could be more to the story.
In a statement to music website Pitchfork, Young’s manager said the Neil canceled his Rock Hall cameo because he had not been feeling well, but that his illness was “nothing major.” Late night legend David Letterman replaced Neil Young at the last minute at the induction ceremony.
Take a look at one of Neil Young’s Bridge School Benefit performances below.
[Featured Image by Randi Lynn Beach/Getty Images]