Wednesday, 22 February 2012

The 8 Words of Ash – All Tomorrow's Parties

Ashley has taken time out from his quest to watch every single movie or shit television show that’s ever been made to have a look at All Tomorrow’s Parties, here’s his take on the thing……

Really rockin', sound synths, weird shit, Gary Numan.

Well, that is all there is I’m afraid. In fact I’m not a hundred per cent sure whether Ashley’s reviewing the concept of All Tomorrow’s Parties as a long running music festival based in a Butlin’s holiday camp, any one of the individual concerts or the documentary movie of the event, so I guess I’ll have to go take a look at all of those things and try to puzzle together Cryptic Ashley’s review, a bit like a blogging Columbo.

All Tomorrow’s Parties is an annual music festival that takes place at Butlin’s holiday camps at Minehead in Somerset, England and at Camber Sands in East Sussex, also in England. Barry Hogan founded it in 1999 as an alternative event to the bigger rock music festivals, like Glastonbury and Reading/Leeds, and named it after a Velvet Underground single of the same name.

The alternative musical ethos of All Tomorrow’s Parties, the lack of corporate sponsorship and the fact that you get the benefit of being able to spend the weekend in a holiday chalet, which most right-thinking people would usually shy away from but given that the usual accommodation for music festivals in a freezing cold tent on a muddy field with no running water or plumbed in toilets it sounds like a 5-star hotel, has made it one of the top music festivals in Britain each year.

The festival took it’s inspiration from the Bowlie Weekender, a festival that took place at Camber Sands in 1999, which was curated by Belle and Sebastian and that’s been the ethos of ATP (as it’s known to it’s growing legion of fans) ever since. Each festival is usually curated by a music type person, but on occasion by non-music types like The Simpsons’ creator Matt Groening and art bods Jake and Dinos Chapman. Each curator picks their line-up out of their favourite bands, so I’d have thought you’d want to go and see one of the ATP festivals when someone you like was curating it.

The festival has been such a success in England and has become so popular with British alternative music fans that in 2011 the format was expanded to a global level with the launch of I’ll Be Your Mirror, which was the B-side to The Velvet Underground single All Tomorrow’s Parties. In February 2011, IBYM took place in Tokyo, with a second in London last July, that was curated by Portishead who also curated the first US IBYM festival in Asbury Park, New Jersey in September of last year.

In 2009 Warp Films released a feature length documentary about the festival, called All Tomorrow’s Parties which premiered in Edinburgh and which I’ve seen at least twice on the tellybox. The documentary is essentially a film of one of the weekends at Camber Sands. It features some of the acts that were playing, fan interviews and a bit of an historical catch-up as to what ATP is and how it started, so maybe I should have just told you to go and watch that instead of writing all this down, hhhhmmm. Anyway, I’ve done it now.

This years first ATP at Minehead takes place next month (March 9th-11th 2012) and is curated by Jeff Magnum from Neutral Milk Hotel. It would appear from the website that there are tickets still available for that if you’re quick, here’s the line-up.

The Tokyo leg of I’ll Be Your Mirror is curated by Jim O’Rourke, and take’s place on the 14th & 15th of April here’s who’s playing at that. The London I’ll Be Your Mirror weekend, curated by Mogwai, is on between 25th and 27th of May, here’s the details of that. The US I’ll Be Your Mirror event is again taking place at Asbury Park, New Jersey, running from 21st to the 23rd of September, it’s curated by the chap from The Afghan Whigs and from this link you’ll see that they’re the only band who are actually confirmed as playing.

Finally All Tomorrow’s Parties rounds off the year at Minehead in Somerset of the 7th, 8th and 9th of December and is curated by The National, here’s the line-up and ticket details if you’re interested. And that’s that really, the film is probably available on iTunes or through LoveFilm so I wouldn’t bother actually buying the thing, unless you were there and want a permanent memento of the thing to remind yourself of the big fun time you had. Again, I’m still not sure exactly which bit of all that Ashley was actually reviewing but he did say Gary Numan and there are far worse ways of spending your time than listening to a bit of Numan and doing a little robot dance while you’re at it. In fact I’ll start you off, here’s Numan larking about with Nine Inch Nails, enjoy!

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