F THE MAN FEST REVIEW
BY QUINTON SHEER
“Come to our show!” “Buy our Merch!” “Stand in the front row!” No matter how loud, how often, or by what social networking site they’re blasted from, those pleas do little to convince anyone other than close friends to come out to local music show.
Successful music artists are realizing that it’s not just the music that’s the draw. What music fans really want is to be a part of a community and to feel a connection with the artists and other fans. When folks make the effort to take off their jammy pants, get off the couch, pay to park, and then pay a cover, they want to have some sense of added value and purpose to the outing. SNAFU, Run Rhino, and One Night Stan delivered just that, turning a simple show at The Historic Cameo Theater into “F The Man Fest.”
Money is tight and times are tough for people everywhere. Entertainment budgets are slim to none for many music fans. But as F The Man Fest proved, people will leave their homes and open their wallets and purses when they have a chance to be a part of something bigger.
Artists hoping to build a bigger fan base should take notice of SNAFU. They’ve built their fan base by building relationships with fans, making them feel a part of a community. SNAFU singer Phil Bonanno came up with the idea to turn a local music concert into something special. “We have met so many cool and dedicated people this past year. Not just fans, but people who were independently promoting local music, art, and culture. We felt this was a great opportunity to get these people in the same room and build our local music community. Plus it is a great excuse to party.”
That belief in forming community transformed a show at a venue not usually considered on the “in” list of venues with what could have been just another trio of bands and made it a happening. “The Energy was great.” said Bonanno. One attendee was overheard exclaiming, “Everyone is dancing and smiling. This is weird but awesome!”
The sense of community brought a near sold out crowd together without relying on anything other than independent channels. Orlandobands.com aided in getting the word out. The bands and their street teams pounded the pavement in handing out flyers. Local restaurant, The Social Chameleon provided free food to those in attendance. Slackertown.com manned a video confessional booth for people to share their stories of the night and their own run ins with The Man. Local film studio, Cloudy Logic was on hand getting footage for SNAFU’s next music video. Add in finger painting and local craft vendors and “F The man Fest” not only gave people a reason to support local culture but made it cool.
Naming or themeing local music shows not only has an effect on fans but on the musicians as well. One Night Stan front man, Jason “Gote” VanDeMaat said, “We definitely didn’t see this as an ordinary show. We really wanted to give our absolute all.” All three bands and the comic duo of Alex and The Beard brought their A games and gave both great technical performances but took the effort to convey the emotions behind the music.
Added to the event was the popular SNAFU Party Bus that picked up fans and various locations and allowed them to get to know each other over kegs of beer and jell-o shots before dropping them off at the venue in time to hear the band. The party bus idea was first used by SNAFU for their CD release party in 2009. “Now with any big show like this, people demand it.” Phil Bonanno said, “We hope to do more events like this. It’s been a blast” Attendees and vendors left with new friends made, stories to tell, and humming a tune.
Events like this shows promise that those in the Orlando entertainment scene can put egos aside and reach out to each other to work together and show the rest of the nation that Orlando is once again a hot and positive scene.