Mason McDeid, 23, who has cerebral palsy and 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 regular spot at the front gave rise to the name of his Facebook blog page, The Best Seat In The House.
Mason’s father Richard, a single parent, 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.
“It’s hard to really know what Mason thinks as he is nonverbal, but if I ask him if he wants to go and see music, he smiles,” Richard says. “If I ask him if a lot of guys know him, he smiles even bigger.”
Mason’s impressive tally of gigs comes despite having spent a large portion of his life in hospitals, having had more than 100 surgeries and battled numerous severe illnesses related to his condition.
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 available, Richard came up with an innovative way of keeping him in employment: making him a music promoter.
The resulting Mason Metalfest was held in last March 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 remembers.
Most of all, Richard just loves the opportunity to spend quality time with his son. “I hope there’s another thousand shows in his future,” he says.
Now the McDieds are working on the followup: Mason Metalfest III, the “Largest Planetary Battle of the most killer metal bands on our planet, and the first Special Needs Metal Festival known to all mankind.”
Having received local, national, and even overseas media attention, the McDieds aim to celebrate this year’s Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month by inviting heavy rock bands performing in the month of March to join their special needs awareness and advocacy network by submitting copies of their logos — possibly laying the foundation for a compilation benefit album!