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30th Annual Bridge School Benefit Concert

"This is my life's work, and it has to survive," she tells me. "It's too important, and it's made a huge difference in so many people's lives." 

Pegi spoke with Speakers in Code in advance of the 30th annual Bridge School benefit concert. The full interview can be read here. Excerpts are reprinted below for your convenience.



As we're winding down our twenty-minute chat over the phone, Pegi Young pauses and, calmly, gets to the heart of the matter.

"This is my life's work, and it has to survive," she tells me. "It's too important, and it's made a huge difference in so many people's lives."

Young is speaking about the Bridge School, an organization co-founded by Young herself. Its mission "is to ensure that individuals with severe speech and physical impairments achieve full participation in their communities through the use of augmentative & alternative means of communication and assistive technology applications and through the development, implementation and dissemination of innovative life-long educational strategies."

This weekend is one of the School's biggest fundraisers, and it's a special one: the 30th Annual Bridge School Benefit Concert at Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, California.

The lineup, as usual, is terrific: Neil Young + Promise of the Real, Metallica, Roger Waters, Dave Matthews, Willie Nelson, My Morning Jacket, Norah Jones, Cage The Elephant, and Nils Lofgren will perform. All proceeds directly benefit the operations of The Bridge School.

Also, as usual, the benefit concert will be all acoustic, challenging bands like Metallica and My Morning Jacket to alter their normal set.

"We have made a couple of exceptions over the years," Young admits. "We let John Lee Hooker play electric. We're not going to tell John Lee Hooker he can't play electric. (laughs) But very, very, very few (exceptions). Like Metallica, they come  -- I think this will be their third time playing -- and play acoustic, and they get it, you know? And they still put on a powerhouse show, as have so many others like Green Day, The Who, Pearl Jam, Foo Fighters -- a lot of bands you just don't see playing acoustic. It's a beautiful thing."

Also beautiful is the stage's backdrop, which features students of the Bridge School sitting behind the musicians, enjoying the show.

"It's a wonderful experience," Young says. "Very heartwarming to have the kids on the stage -- a constant reminder of why you're there. Why the audience is there, why the musicians are there -- they are the stars of the show, and everybody gets that."

Here's the rest of my conversation with Pegi Young.

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