Alistair McDonald is head of marketing and business development at TWL Solicitors. In his spare time, he helps to organise Chase Park Festival, an inclusive open-air music event that aims to break down cultural barriers for people with disabilities.
I started organising music festivals by chance while working for spinal and neuro rehabilitation specialists Keiro. One of the clients was an ex-music student who suffered a brain injury while holidaying in Thailand. He was keen to get back into music and attend gigs but he wasn’t able to travel far and the festivals were restrictive due to his disability.I spoke to the directors at Keiro about organising an event with access for everyone and Chase Park Festival was born.
I’ve been involved in all five Chase Park Festivals. Putting on the festival takes all year. We’re currently thinking of acts for 2016.
Festivals are all about human beings getting together and celebrating music together so they should be accessible for everyone.
As head of marketing at TLW, I have to promote legal services which we offer throughout the firm; working in this field has given me a head start in understanding how to market an event. With TLW having a specialist serious injury division, the partners are committed to supporting their clients and are very supportive of my involvement with the festival.
The biggest highlight for me at this year’s Chase Park Festival has been having my best friend, who has MS, with me. At Glastonbury, he got stuck in some mud which really knocked his confidence and he stopped going to festivals. it’s great to be able to go to festivals together again.
We want to attract bigger headliners each year at Chase Festival as well as providing platforms throughout the year to help disabled artists become professional musicians.
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