Neil Fest 00:00
“I wanted the song to have a presence that wasn’t gonna sound like the record. It would be foolish to rock that song out…but why? You don’t wanna do a karaoke version, I wanna find a new way to get into the groove.” – Ryan Adams

Last November, an insanely eclectic crew of musicians gathered on New York’s Lower East Side for to honor the musical legacy of Neil Young, all while raising money for charity. Neil Fest 2015 was a two-night celebration at the Bowery Ballroom, featuring once-in-a-lifetime performances by Ryan Adams, Norah Jones, Kim Gordon, Patrick Carney, Jakob Dylan, Caleb Followill, Charles Bradley, Ruby Amanfu, Valerie June, Sharon Von Etten and many, many more. In our exclusive video, Convicts takes you backstage with unseen footage, interviews and commentary.

“A lot of those songs stuck with me, they meant a lot more to me as I got older, wiser. I picked “Rockin in the Free World,” which is not one of his more subtle moments, but neither am I.” – Butch Walker

Neil Fest is one of many joyous events curated by the Best Fest, a Lower East Side collective of musicians that celebrates rock legends with all-star charity concert events. The tradition began 15 years ago, when Fest creators Alex Levy, Austin Scaggs, and Matt Romano chose to honor Bob Dylan on his 60th birthday by getting a band together and inviting their friends to come sing their favorite Dylan songs at Manitoba’s, an East Village dive. Each year, Best Fest gained momentum, graduating from NYC dive bars and small clubs to the most prestigious rock venues in the country. Playing with legends-in-their-own-right like Brian Wilson, Perry Farrell, Emmylou Harris, The Black Keys, The Strokes, The Flaming Lips, and Kings of Leon, and covering the repertoires of the Rolling Stones, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, George Harrison and the Beach Boys. On February 9th and 10th (next week, people!) they will stage their first-ever Fleetwood Mac Fests featuring, among others, Mark Ronson, Courtney Love, Perry Farrell, Joanna Newsom and other surprise guests at the Fonda Theater in Los Angeles. Don’t miss it!

And with the Fest, the silver lining is that proceeds go to the Sweet Relief Foundation, a charity committed to giving back to the music community, helping career musicians who are struggling to make ends meet.

“We were driving in my dad’s car when I was a kid, and “Southern Man,” came on, and my dad was like, “This guy is one of the most important songwriters ever.”” – Nicole Atkins
“If I need some solace, am having a hard day, I can go get me some Neil Young, or if I’m having a good day, I can get me some Neil Young.” – Danny Clinch