No, they’re not competing with a Dave Matthews Band show. The artists, supporters and contributors are going to play an acoustic set on Mt. Everest, at 18,500 feet altitude, topping the existing world’s record that was set when some musicians played on the mountainside 500 feet below.
It’s not a vanity project; it has to do with survival. Mike Peters has beaten cancer twice and Chippendale has overcome leukemia. They met through a mutual friend when Peters came over from the U.K. to play SXSW.
"Having talked to hundreds and hundreds of people since I was diagnosed, the first thing you ask is, ‘Are you getting the best treatment?’" Chippendale told Pollstar. "Mike’s answer was, ‘I dunno. I’m just going to my local-shmokel doctor down the street and he’s giving me this certain type of treatment.’"
The chief of the CSI insurance agency told Peters his answer wasn’t good enough and proceeded to line up the Alarm singer with a network of doctors in the U.S. who could provide him with care and medicine.
They bonded and Chippendale visited Peters and his family in Wales. Peters dreamt out loud about playing a benefit concert for the local hospital that helped him during his illness. He also talked of climbing Mt. Everest.
That led to the two men forming the Love Hope Strength Foundation where such things would take place.
"Cancer research is amazingly important but right now there are hundreds of thousands of people who don’t have access to the most basic treatment, to even have a chance to experience that research," Chippendale said. The foundation would increase awareness and money for cancer treatment.
The coming-out party was in February, when Peters and friends climbed the Empire State Building in NYC and played the first concert ever on its observatory deck.
Then artists, friends, financial donors and fans watched Peters and his companions play on Mt. Snowdon, overlooking the cancer center that Peters spoke of. Now it’s off to Everest.
"It’s our climb back from cancer, that cancer can be overcome," Chippendale said.
The troupe of 40 will include Glenn Tilbrook, folk singer Nick Harper, Slim Jim Phantom, The Fixx’s Cy Curnin and Jamie West-Oram and MTV producer Alex Coletti, who will film a documentary. Chippendale won’t be playing an instrument; his role is to organize and promote.
The expedition plans to play at villages along the way between Kathmandu and the world-famous "base camp."
"It resonates with everyone," Chippendale said. "Everybody will be affected by cancer in their lifetime. They’ll be touched by it in some way, shape or form. People who’ve come to these events can be people who came off the street, doctors, researchers, nurses … It’s an eclectic makeup but they’ve all been touched by cancer in some way."
More concerts are in the works, including a visit to Red Rocks Amphitheatre, Chippendale said.