John Brower. Photo: Jennifer Roberts, Globe & Mail
John Brower. Photo: Jennifer Roberts, Globe & Mail

John Brower's Heatwave, The Gambling Man's Edition

"The financial numbers on a rock festival were very good, much better than any concert.

"At concerts the groups took most of the money, in the old days it wasn’t so bad but by 1979 and certainly now in 1980, agents and managers were after every penny once their act was hot. A festival, however, allowed the promoters to shoot craps, but they paid dearly for the dice, and there was no pass line.

"The kinds of people who would pay to shoot these dice were like no other gamblers on Earth.

"Their crap table was the whole world linked up by various media networks. Rock festivals were big news in the Sixties and early Seventies while they lasted. But their death knell sounded at Altamont and since then only a handful of fanciful fools, (John) Brower foremost amongst them, continued to pursue these elusive whooping cranes of rock.

"But on those few occasions when men have gathered around great long tables to plot these festival campaigns, one thing is certain; they have in common, the need to make a mark big and fast in their lives, the minds of others, and their hearts. For this reason above all else are they drawn, against all prudent advice and counsel, to cast their lot in a gamble with more documented odds against it than almost anything.

"But the lure is the belief that, like drilling for oil, this one will be the next big one..."

Excerpted from John Brower’s Heatwave trilogy, book one—Count Wiffenstein Meets the Ugly Canadians (softback, 161p,)

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