500 metal bands in 365 days for Mason McDeid

500 bands might be more than some people manage to see in a lifetime.

For 21-year-old Mason McDeid and his father, Richard, this was a target for one year.

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Yes, indeed. The McDeid’s aimed to see 500 bands in 365 days. This admirable target was almost reached, with the boys taking in a whopping 450.

Mason was born with cerebral palsy and is confined to a wheelchair. He is unable to speak, but is communicative in other ways; something which  alerted his father to his love of heavy metal.

“When Mason was little, he cried constantly. He was experiencing a lot of discomfort, his father said. Richard McDeid tried everything to calm down his son. He even played music — from classical to New Age. Nothing worked. Finally, the frustrated father decided to play something he liked: Metallica.

To his surprise, Mason liked it, too. He stopped crying and started to fall asleep. And with that, a metalhead was born.

From that day forward, whenever Metallica was playing, Mason would start squealing excitedly, Richard McDeid said.

As Mason grew older, he started to go to concerts with his dad. One year, they saw a couple hundred bands perform. So they decided to see if they could double that number in 2016. (Source – Star Tribune)”

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This quest has seen the father and son team travel the length and breadth of the country, trying to see as many bands as possible. “We look for ‘impossible’ goals,” Richard McDeid said.

“Mason McDeid struggled to catch a glimpse of the band Korn as they performed before tens of thousands of fans last summer at a music festival in Wisconsin.

The 21-year-old Maple Grove man, who has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair, was stuck in the back with his father when a fellow concertgoer noticed their dilemma and offered to help.

“He said, ‘You guys follow me. We’re going to make a hole,’ ” recalled Mason’s dad, Richard McDeid. “We went by everybody. The crowd parted like the Red Sea.”

Mason glided past the mosh pit and saw people body surfing before eventually making his way to the front row. A security guard spotted Mason and got him even closer. Grabbing his wheelchair, the guard hoisted him above the railing, placing him directly in front of the stage.

“I looked up at Mason and he was just smiling,” Richard McDeid said. “As I was looking at him, I saw him on the Jumbotron. Korn was onstage, clapping. That was probably the coolest” moment.”

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The pair have met with their fair share of challenges along the way to reach their 500 bands goal. Some venues are incredibly accommodating to people in wheelchairs. Others less so.

This has not, however, put the McDeid family off planning their biggest excursion yet.

“With the new year, Mason and his father have made a new resolution. They’ll continue seeing bands, but they’re raising the stakes. The goal for 2017: Take Mason to a large music festival in Europe.

Crossing the ocean is something that neither father nor son has experienced, and they’re eager to see the wider world, no matter what kind of obstacles they face.

“We don’t know how we’ll get there,” Richard McDeid said. “But we’re going to make it happen.” 

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See you up the front guys!

Colin J McCracken
Colin J McCracken

Director and Executive Editor

Colin J McCracken is an Irish editor and writer of both fiction and journalism. Coming from a background in education and film, his passions are split between the environmental and the entertaining. Constantly striving for a more sustainable existence and trying to balance it while simultaneously buying too many books.