All Tomorrow's Parties (music festival)

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All Tomorrow's Parties is an organisation based in London that has been promoting festivals, concerts and records throughout the world for over ten years. It was founded by Barry Hogan in 1999 in preparation for the first All Tomorrow's Parties festival, the line-up of which was curated by Mogwai and took place in the unusual setting of Pontins Holiday Camp, Camber Sands.

Since then the festival has appeared every year, and continues to set itself apart from festivals like Reading or Glastonbury by staying intimate, non-corporate and fan-friendly. Another vital difference is that the line-ups are chosen by significant bands or artists, resulting in unpredictable and exciting events which combine performances by legendary and influential acts with appearances by the latest crop of experimental artists from any (and every) musical genre. The All Tomorrow's Parties festival has become more successful with every passing year, moving in 2006 to a larger holiday camp. It has taken place in the UK, USA and Australia, and has been curated by the following artists:

Deerhunter, TV On The Radio, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The National, The Drones, Greg Dulli (Afghan Whigs), Jeff Mangum (Neutral Milk Hotel), Battles, Caribou, Les Savy Fav, Amos, Animal Collective, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Jim Jarmusch, Pavement, The Flaming Lips, The Breeders, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Mike Patton & Melvins, My Bloody Valentine, Explosions In The Sky, Pitchfork Media, Portishead, Dirty Three, Thurston Moore, The Shins, Sleater Kinney, Dinosaur Jr., Devendra Banhart, Mudhoney, The Mars Volta, Vincent Gallo, Slint, Jake & Dinos Chapman, Stephen Malkmus, Mogwai, Tortoise, Shellac, Sonic Youth, Autechre, Modest Mouse, and Simpsons' creator Matt Groening.

Named after the song "All Tomorrow's Parties" by The Velvet Underground, it was founded by Barry Hogan in 1999 as an alternative to larger, more corporate festivals like Reading, with a tendency towards post-rock, avant-garde, and underground hip hop, along with more traditional rock fare, but presented in an environment more intimate than a giant stadium or huge country field. All Tomorrow's Parties is a sponsorship-free festival where the organisers and artists stay in the same accommodation as the fans.[1]

History[edit]

The festival has its origins in the Bowlie Weekender, curated by Belle & Sebastian at Camber Sands in April 1999. Artists, usually musicians (but sometimes visual artists like Matt Groening, whose line-up featured in the Observer's list of the ten best festivals of the year,[2] or Jake and Dinos Chapman) are asked to curate the festival by inviting their favourite performers to play. The idea is that it is akin to dipping into the curator's record collection, or as founder Barry Hogan described it, "ATP is like an excellent mix tape".[3]

In 2001 the organisation spawned ATP/Recordings, a record label originally created to bring out compilation albums related to its festivals. However the label eventually moved on from just doing compilations for the festival to sign and release singles and albums from artists including Threnody Ensemble, Bardo Pond, The Magic Band, Deerhoof, White Out, Death Vessel, The Drones, Fursaxa, The Scientists, Apse, Fuck Buttons, Alexander Tucker, Sleepy Sun, Spiritualized, Built To Spill, Autolux and most recently Tall Firs and Tennis. At the end of 2007 ATP/R launched series of double 7" singles called Custom Made, which would feature bands choosing four songs; one something old, one something new, one something borrowed (a cover version) and one something blue (artists were free to interpret this as they feel). Artists to release singles in this series so far are Australia's The Drones, Britain's Alexander Tucker and America's Deerhoof.

In 2002, the festival expanded to the USA, and several events have taken place there in subsequent years. In recent years the All Tomorrow's Parties organisation has also been involved in booking stages at the Pitchfork Music Festival[4] and the Primavera Sound Festival in Barcelona, Spain. In 2008, All Tomorrow's Parties ran their first East Coast USA festival, which took place at Kutsher's Hotel and Country Club, Monticello, New York and was a huge success – this event occurred again in 2009 and 2010.[5] In January 2009, the festival took place for the first time in Australia, with events in Brisbane, Sydney and Mount Buller (in Victoria) all curated by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds.[6]

The small organisation that puts on these festivals also promote concerts in London and the rest of the United Kingdom, curate the yearly Don't Look Back concert series and run the record label ATP Recordings.

All Tomorrow’s Parties also sets itself apart from other festivals by embracing seemingly disparate artistic genres. Most festival events feature art exhibitions and cinema programmes (in the USA ATP collaborate with Criterion to present cinema highlighted by appearances so far from Paul Schrader and Jim Jarmusch), and others have featured spoken word performances, stand up comedy and book clubs.

In 2007 the curators allowed festival goers to pick the line-up by organising a voting process for all ticketholders in the months running up to the event, and this was repeated in May 2009. The festival now takes place up to three or four times a year in the UK (in May and then in December for the 'Nightmare Before Christmas'). In recent years ATP's involvement in festivals has spread further; including curating a yearly stage at Barcelona's acclaimed Primavera Sound Festival, and also curating a stage at Pitchfork Magazine's Music Festival in Chicago in 2007 and 2008.

In 2008 ATP organised their first east coast U.S. festival at Kutshers Country Club, Monticello, New York. It was called 'an unforgettable end to the summer festival season' by Spin magazine, and Pitchfork stated that it was: 'the most enjoyable festival experience of our reporter's life.' ATP returned to Kutshers in September 2009 with guest curators The Flaming Lips to even more positive critical reaction, and September 2010's event guest curated by Jim Jarmusch was called 'The Perfect Rock Festival' by Rolling Stone.

At the start of 2009 the first ATP Australia festival took place in Mt. Buller, Sydney and Brisbane, all curated by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds to huge acclaim in all locations.

Significant past performances at ATP festivals include the reformations of The Magic Band, Television, The Jesus Lizard, Sleep, and Slint amongst others. All Tomorrow's Parties were also proud to present the return of My Bloody Valentine with a series of worldwide live performances throughout 2008, the London concerts of which were named Time Out's Gig Of The Year.

In 2009, Warp Films released a feature length documentary about the festival named All Tomorrow's Parties. It premiered at the SXSW Film Festival, and then premiered in the UK at Edinburgh in June. In October 2009 the film was screened at a number of 'one night only' UK theatrical screenings also featuring live music from Les Savy Fav, who feature in the film and have long been mainstays of All Tomorrow's Parties line-ups.[7]

I'll Be Your Mirror[edit]

In 2010, ATP announced I'll Be Your Mirror, a series of events taking place in cities around the world. I'll Be Your Mirror is named as such as it is a sister event to ATP, still involving a curator choosing all the music and films that play at the event, but without the holiday resort accommodation. "I'll Be Your Mirror" is the B-side to the original 1966 "All Tomorrow's Parties" single by the Velvet Underground. ATP announced the first event to take place in Tokyo, Japan in February 2011. A UK IBYM weekend was confirmed for 23/24 July with Portishead installed as headline act and curators.[8] Portishead also co-curated and headlined ATP's first U.S. I'll Be Your Mirror in September 2011 in Asbury Park, New Jersey. The 2013 UK edition of I'll Be Your Mirror was held at Alexandra Palace in London, curated/headlined by Yeah Yeah Yeahs on 4 May.

End of an Era[edit]

In November 2013, ATP held their final UK holiday camp events in Camber Sands under the title End Of An Era. End Of An Era 1 took place from 22-24 November, and was produced in partnership with Barcelona’s Primavera Sound festival. Television top the bill, and performed Marquee Moon in its entirety. Other acts on the bill included Oneohtrix Point Never, Forest Swords, The Haxan Cloak, Demdike Stare, Chelsea Light Moving, Dinosaur Jr, Dinos Chapman, Les Savy Fav, múm, Hebronix, Mike Watt, Wolf Eyes, BEAK> and Eraas. End Of An Era 2, meanwhile, ran from 29 November – 1 December, and was helmed and curated by a reformed Loop. Also on the bill: Fennesz, The Pop Group, 23 Skidoo, Dirty Beaches, The KVB, Hookworms, Edan, Hookworms and Thought Forms. [9]

Jabberwocky[edit]

Jabberwocky is a brand new two-day festival for London, brought by ATP, Pitchfork and Primavera Sound. The event will be held at the ExCel Centre: an indoor East London venue capable of housing ATP's award winning production values, with none of the heavily restrictive sound limits found at many other city festivals. It brings together a host of concert and festival organisers together as founder and co-director Barry Hogan from All Tomorrow’s Parties explains. "Named after our favourite Lewis Carroll Poem, Jabberwocky is a two day festival collaboration between us (ATP) and our Spanish and American brothers and sisters – Primavera Sound and Pitchfork Media," he says. "Together we will transform the London Excel Centre into a next level festival space where we have programmed every aspect of the event to our personal taste. The Excel Centre is a blank canvas where we are creating a world filled with the best music, film, DJs, art and food from around the globe so this is a chance for fans to experience what us three partners in crime have selected on English soil for the first time." [10]

See also[edit]

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