Title: Chase Park Festival: An Interview with Alistair McDonald

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Summary: The summer is set to bring a wide variety of activities to the North East, but none are as highly anticipated as Chase Park Festival. The festival is the biggest open air event of its kind in the UK, bringing together people from all walks of life to experience the best acts that the North East has to offer. The unique event ensures that regardless of ability, everyone can enjoy the event, with accessible facilities for those with disabilities.

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The summer is set to bring a wide variety of activities to the North East, but none are as highly anticipated as Chase Park Festival. The festival is the biggest open air event of its kind in the UK, bringing together people from all walks of life to experience the best acts that the North East has to offer. The unique event ensures that regardless of ability, everyone can enjoy the event, with accessible facilities for those with disabilities.

Alistair McDonald, who organises the event, spoke to us about the history and future of the festival.

Could you tell us a little bit about the history of Chase Park Festival – how and when did the idea for the festival come about?

The festival first started back in 2009. I was working for a care company that provided rehab and care to people with brain and spinal injuries. Once of the clients and his physio approached me with the idea of running an accessible music festival. It all developed from there! The young man in question is called Paul Belk and he is playing on our second stage this year with his band White Dove.

What years have been your most successful?

Michael Eavis from Glastonbury Festival usually says after the event “This was our best festival yet!” and I would tend to echo that approach. Every year we manage to improve the accessibility, grow the crowds and get bigger artists on the bill. Fingers crossed 2017 will be our biggest and best yet. I think this is the strongest line up we have ever had and I think that the move to Saltwell Park should really help us to reach new people.

Are there any artists that you’ve been particularly excited about being involved with the festival?

Over the years we have had some pretty high profile acts such as Ash, The Futureheads, Reverend and The Makers, Turin Brakes and Stornoway all of whom have been fantastic bands. We have also been lucky to have worked with brilliant emerging artists such as The Lake Poets. I have to say that the most exciting artists for me are the ones who perform on our second stage. The second stage is designed to give emerging disabled artists a platform. I love The Sound Beam Band, Aukestra and The Twisting Ducks.

Do you run any other projects alongside the festival?

We have been involved in a number of artist development programs which aim to help disabled musicians to develop their careers in the music industry. We are going to run some smaller gigs later in the year to try and give some exposure to new disabled artists who aren’t quite ready for the festival a chance to perform.

What plans do you have for the future of Chase Park Festival?

We really continue to push the boundaries in terms of what we can do to make the event as accessible as we can, as well as giving disabled musicians as much exposure as we possible. We want to make sure people have a great time so we will always be looking for way to get the best line up possible!

Chase Park Festival will be held on Saturday 26th August 2017 from 12-9PM. Be sure to visit our stand on the day and learn more about how we can help you create the perfect vehicle based on your individual needs.

To learn more about the festival, head over to the official website.

Author: Manpreet Sandhu

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