Country/folk rock artist [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Neil Young[/lastfm] is known for his outspoken, political and social commentary in his music, and he not only preaches his beliefs through music, but he lives what he teaches. Young has had his hands in numerous charity projects throughout his 40+ career raising awareness from local farmers to disabled children.
It’s this positive role in activism and work that got Young noticed by the CEO of the Juno Awards in his home country of Canada for being an influential humanitarian, and exactly why he is this year’s recipient of the Allan Waters Humanitarian Award at the 40th Annual Juno Awards.
1. Farm Aid: Since the early stages of his career in the ’60s-’70s, Neil Young used his notoriety to raise awareness to protect the welfare of small farmers in America. In 1985, Young joined forces with John Mellencamp, and Willie Nelson to co-found the benefit concert Farm Aid that helps keep family farmers on their land. Farm Aid just celebrated its 25th year with an annual concert featuring the founders.
2. The Bridge School: Along with his wife, Pegi Young, the singer founded The Bridge School in 1987, which helps educate children with severe speech and physical disabilities. Two of his three children were diagnosed with cerebral palsy and wasn’t satisfied with the education system for his children, so he opened his own. For its 20th year, Young recruited some musical friends like Brian Wilson, Dave Matthews Band and Pearl Jam to help throw a benefit concert for the organization.
3. Famine Relief: In 1985, Young joined fellow Canadian musicians under the name Northern Lights to record the charity single “Tears Are Not Enough.” They helped raise money for the damaging effects of the Ethiopian famine of ’84-85. The project raised over $3.2 million for famine relief.
4. Live 8: Neil Young was a key participant in Canada’s leg of the string of benefit concerts in all G8 States and in South Africa. He took the stage to finish up the last of the Live 8 tour in Canada in 2005.
5. Summer Sessions: In 2009, Neil Young helped out Canadian singer Sarah McLachlan for the first benefit concert of “Summer Sessions.” The concert helped raise money in order to offer free music programs in underserved communities.
These are just a few of the many projects Neil Young has advocated throughout his career. He is one of the most committed activists in music and is well-deserving of the Allan Waters Humanitarian Award presented at the Juno Awards on March 27.