A father who has been to more than 1,000 concerts with his son who has cerebral palsy is organising a music festival for him with the help of the local heavy metal community.
Mason McDeid, 23, who uses a wheelchair, has become a local celebrity in his home town of Maple Grove, Minnesota, for his love of metal and his presence at numerous live shows.
His impressive tally of gigs comes despite having spent a large portion of his life in hospital, having had more than 100 surgeries and battled numerous severe illnesses related to his condition.
Mason’s father Richard, a single parent aged 51, said that while Mason is unable to easily communicate, he has made a lot of friends in the Minneapolis music scene, adding: “Any time you see him at a show he is always on the (front) rail and always having the time of his life”.
His regular spot at the front gave rise to the name of his Facebook blog page, The Best Seat in the House.
“It’s hard to really know what Mr Mason thinks as he is non-verbal, but if I ask him if he wants to go and see music he smiles,” Richard said.
“If I ask him if a lot of guys know him, he smiles even bigger.”
The idea for a music festival came about after Mason graduated from college and was told he needed a job in order to keep his benefits.
Unsatisfied with what was on offer, Richard came up with an innovative way of keeping him in employment: making him a music promoter.
The resulting Mason Metalfest was held in March last year to coincide with Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month, and saw dozens of bands volunteer to play and even just come to watch.
It also resulted in winning Mason an award for best show of the year at the Minnesota Metal Awards, otherwise known as the Mattys.
“I rolled him down the red carpet and on to the stage with about 1,000 people chanting his name. It was priceless,” Richard remembered.
Now the pair are planning the follow-up, Mason Metalfest II, for March 23, which they are hoping will be even bigger and better than the last, having received attention in the local media and even coverage overseas.
Most of all, Richard just loves the opportunity to spend quality time with his son.
“I hope there’s another 1,000 shows in his future,” he said.
MasonFest II will be held at Lee’s Liquor Lounge in Minneapolis from 3.30pm on March 23 with a 10 dollar entry fee.