Since its establishment over 10 years ago, London based company All Tomorrow’s Parties (ATP) has been supporting and promoting gigs and festivals worldwide. Founded by Barry Hogan in preparation for its first ever festival at the UK’s Pontins Holiday Camp in 1999, ATP, thanks to its unusual yet brilliant approach, has become one of the world’s most renown event producers.
With an ever increasing amount of events taking place in the UK and beyond, ATP decided that “staying intimate, non-corporate and fan-friendly” would be the cornerstones of their productions. This ethos has allowed ATP to grow as festival organizers, and they now run events in Australia and the USA, as well as putting on stages at renown festivals such as Primavera Sound. Additionally, rather than simply booking acts based on how many tickets they will sell, the organizers allow headline artists their festivals. This makes the line ups that little bit more unpredictable, but adds to the excitement, with chosen acts ranging from legendary and influential artists to the latest in experimental music.
“Sometimes promoters have good ideas. And those guys pretty much always do, and I have to say as festivals go, that’s the best one out there.” – Mike Patton, former lead singer of Faith No More
Building on ATP’s refreshing approach to curating events, they decided to allow festival ticket holders to decide on who they wanted to see play by setting up a poll in months leading up to the festival. This was done successfully in 2007 and repeated in 2009. 2008 saw the beginning of ATP’s east coast U.S festival in New York, and it carried on over the years to feature acts such as The Flaming Lips and Jim Jarmusch. Rolling Stone named the event as “the perfect rock festival”- so it must have been pretty damn good. Following how popular ATP had become in the USA, they launched two events in Australia in 2009, this time curated by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds.
ATP created its own label in 2001 which was executed with the aim of releasing specially made compilation albums in association with the ATP festivals. Eventually the label decided not to just make compilation CD’s, and went on to signing acts such as F*ck Buttons, The Scientists, Bardo Pond, and Deerhoof. In 2007 they released a series of double 7″ singles named Custom Made. Artists would choose four particular songs – one old, one new, one borrowed (a cover), and one blue- where the artists were told they could interpret this as they pleased. Each run was limited to 1000 copies, and featured some exclusive artwork. Never short on new ideas, ATP launched their “Don’t Look Back” series in 2005 , with artists performing an album of their choice- in track order- live. For example, The Stooges performed “Funhouse”, Belle & Sebastian did “If You’re Feeling Sinister”, and Sonic Youth played several live sets of “Daydream Nation”, which went to win Time Out’s “Gig Of the Year” in 2007.
The original ‘Custom Made’ record,by the Drones with art by Michael Motorcycle
In 2010, ATP launched “I’ll Be Your Mirror”, a program of music, art and film events, curated by artists. These events take place in major cities all over the world, unlike the festivals which are held in holiday resorts and camps. The “I’ll Be Your Mirror” events are named after The Velvet Underground’s 1966 b-side to the 7″ All Tomorrow’s Parties single. The first of these was held in February 2011 in Tokyo at Studio Coast, with a performance from Godspeed You! Black Emperor. Setting aside the work that ATP does with festivals, they also get closely involved with putting on other shows and promoting events, mainly in the UK, Europe, USA and Australia.
“Most… festivals lose their soul as they grow experientially. They can lose the spirit of what it was they set out to be. But not ATP”- Stuart Braithwaite, lead singer of Mogwai, 2013
In July 2013, ATP launched “ATP Iceland”, held at Ásbrú, a former NATO base built in 1941 and still functioning up until 2006. Headlined by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds in 2013, 2014 featured performances including Portishead, Interpol, Slowdive and Mogwai. However, in December 2013, ATP hosted their final weekender at the Butlins Holiday Camp, citing that their “growing schedule of city and international based events in 2014 and beyond” needed more attention.
One of theses events, in collaboration with Pitchfork and Primavera, is a new festival in London called Jabberwocky. The festival takes place on the 15th and 16th August at London’s ExCel Centre. It gives people the chance to see performances from acts that you do not usually see playing at festivals in the UK, including Neutral Milk Hotel, James Blake, Caribou and Darkside (full line up here). After having written this article, we will definitely be heading over… and we better see you there too!
For All Tomorrow’s Parties news, tickets, and more information, click here.
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