Thursday, December 26, 2013
Book Review: Geoff Berner's Festival Man
Summary: A found memoir of a man named Cam is now published for all to read. He is a music manager trying to redeem himself to the music industry and his girlfriend. He's made a mess of managing bands, and the current singer of a band has up and left before she was to perform at a festival with her current band that he scheduled at a huge festival in Calgary. Not only that but he has recounted other times he's failed in the past. His hopes is to get this band on stage without any realizing the singer has disappeared.
Characters: The characters consist of array of people seen through the eyes of Cam, who is a music manager. He isn't the best manager though, and hasn't ever really helped a band find stardom. Plus, he's an alcoholic who seems to have a bit of trouble admitting it. It seems he's reached the end of his rope of holding onto being a man that bands can trust in the industry when a band finds that their lead singer has gone onto bigger and better things, and Cam is hoping he can hide it from those who only hired them to perform at the festival because of the lead singer. The other characters are very loosely met in the novel, so you don't ever get a tie to them.
Writing: The writing is a bit everywhere, and in a way it probably reflects a region of the world I'm just not familiar with the accent of. If you're Canadian you're going to recognize some accents and regions of the country mentioned that are going to be more easy to relate to and the jokes as well. The jokes I'm sure are more inclusive to the areas the places are set in, so for someone who lives way more near the equator it's going to be like reading something without a map of where it's set at.
Plot: The plot is basically nonexistent. I think if this book had been written more with the knowledge of what was to become of Cam then it would have kept me intrigued, but instead the jumpiness, and then the going back to where he was trying to Athena to sing for the band again just puzzled me, and disrupted the flow of the story. He even breaks down into explaining qualifications to running a sound board in a humorous way at one point. I get that this has a certain appeal plot wise to a certain audience, mostly those who are fans of the writer, but if you're not someone who is familiar with him, or perhaps even a fan of Hunter S. Thompson's work, which this can be likened to, then you might want something more of a core plot. It's got a unique way of telling something, but since it's fiction it leaves it feeling empty.
Festival Man is music book that provides some interesting notes from a musician himself, and I'm sure he is even weaving in some of his own personal experience. The work is very scattered, and much like you would find perhaps a memoir left by someone. I can't help but wish it would have really happened though, because then the novel would have more purpose.
Rating 4 of 10.