Music reporter Vicki McCarthy caught up with Chris McAlinden to discuss bringing Dodgy’s Nigel Clarke to MK on Sept 3 and Mike Wilton Band on Sept 16.
As I write this edition’s column, we’re in the midst of a heatwave and I’m in the midst of dieting to lose the leftover lockdown weight!
I ended up working (and eating) more than ever during what’s possibly been the strangest and most testing of times, while others were a bit more motivated… discovering untapped skills and taking on new hobbies.
My interview subject for this edition of Celebrate:MK falls into the latter category.
Step forward local music-lover Chris McAlinden, who accidentally found himself becoming a gig promoter during ‘Covid times’ and is now looking forward to hosting two revered artists at The Craufurd Arms in Wolverton this September.
When we met up for a chat in July, the obvious question was how does one become an accidental live music promoter?
“Like many, I was really missing live music during the lockdowns,” Chris explained.
“When restrictions began to ease, there weren’t many gigs happening or to look forward to, so I thought I’d have a go at putting on an event myself.”
With the seed of an idea firmly planted, Chris approached Mark Morriss, lead singer of Britpop darlings The Bluetones, who was receptive to the idea.
“It started with a field,” Chris laughed, “I literally blagged a field! Along with a marquee and gazebos to
accommodate Mark for the night!”
The socially distanced event turned out to be a great time for all involved. So, Chris was ready to do it
again and looked to arrange another gig on behalf of Mark, but this time at local venue Unit 9 in Old Wolverton.
Another lockdown sadly put paid to those plans and ever resourceful, Chris and Unit 9 hosted a ticketed, virtual gig instead, which proved to be very popular with live music lovers.
Finally, with restrictions lifted and the words ‘new normal’ ringing in everyone’s ears, Chris was able to put on a “proper gig” for Mark at Unit 9 in August 2021 – which I attended; I hasten to add.
Which brings us up to now, as Chris prepares for his next bookings, with the new city of Milton Keynes playing host to DODGY’S NIGEL CLARKE and MIKE WILTON BAND this autumn.
Nigel will be gracing the Craufurd’s stage on Saturday 3 September, with Mike and his band following suit on Friday 16 September.
“They’re going to be great gigs,” Chris smiled. “Like Unit 9, The Craufurd has been incredibly supportive of my ideas. We can’t wait to welcome both artists along with their loyal fans and followers.”
So, is this new hobby for keeps? “Yes, for now,” Chris agreed. “Besides continuing to bring artists that I like and admire to MK, I also want to start working more with local, unsigned bands – I’m thinking a showcase is definitely on the cards.
“But I’m open to suggestions and recommendations.”
I plan to attend as many gigs as possible in the coming months, and Chris’s events are on that list.
Besides the obvious joy of seeing and hearing live music, the dancing, pogoing, and moshing have the additional benefit of burning calories!
For tickets to either gig, visit thecraufurdarms.com