LOS ANGELES (April 25, 2015) -- Rock royalty and Hollywood celebrities joined forces with autism advocates and musicians on the spectrum to raise awareness and much needed funds at the sold-out Light Up The Blues concert to benefit Autism Speaks.
Concert host Stephen Stills teamed up with former bandmate and rock legend Neil Young to headline the event at Hollywood's famed Pantages Theater. Shawn Colvin, The White Buffalo, Steve Earle and Chris Stills rounded out the lineup.
For Earle, the cause hits close to home. Three years ago, his son was diagnosed with autism. He turned to Stephen Stills, who's son Henry has autism. He told the crowd, "I called Stephen because I knew he would guide me through it."
The night also featured performances three artists with autism -- Spencer Harte featuring Petra Haden, Nick Guzman and Matt Savage -- as well as a speech by Neal Katz, a young man with autism who communicates through speech-to-text technology via an iPad. Each performer brought the crowd of nearly 3000 to their feet.
It was a night of amazing performances and some surprises. While emcee Jack Black was auctioning off a signed Fender guitar, the top bidder was none other than Brad Pitt. Brad had a bruise on his face from a fall piror to the event but that didn't stop him from supporting the cause.
"Regardless, I wasn't going to miss the Autism Speaks benefit the night after — wonderful people and I was honored to be a part of this important event," Pitt told the Today Show.
The night ended with all the performers taking the stage to sing Neil Young's hit "Rocking In The Free World."
The event, sponsored by the Guess Foundation and Toyota, featured appearance by actors, Christina Applegate, Gary Cole, Amy Brenneman.
Also in attendance; Kristen Stills, who co-hosts the event with husband Stephen Stills, Autism Speaks President Liz Feld, Director of Corporate Development Matt Asner and FX Networks COO and President of Program Strategy Chuck Saftler. The Autism Speaks national board member was instrumental in getting the stars out the help raise awareness for autism.
The concert spotlights Light It Up Blue, Autism Speaks' annual global awareness and fundraising campaign celebrated by the international Autism community during World Autism Awareness Day and throughout Autism Awareness Month in April. Proceeds from the concert will go towards Autism Speaks' research and advocacy efforts for families and individuals impacted by the disorder.