Primavera Loves Atp

Joan Soley came to Primavera Sound on a placement to work with us during the months of the festival.  His enthusiasm and dedication were so great that one-year later he had become the general coordinator, one of the key positions in our organisation.  He is in charge of connecting all the links of the chain, making sure that each person finishes their work where the next person has to take over.  It is a difficult job that requires total dedication, and without which the festival would simply not be possible.

A few days ago he travelled to Minehead with two other people from the office (Xavi and Carlos) to attend the ATP festival curated by Belle and Sebastain.  Here are his impressions:

Just so you get an idea of what ATP is all about:  on the Thursday you share the transfer from Bristol airport to Butlins with a Dutch death-metal band Urfaust (two great lads, slightly scatological and fans of Lady Gaga) and on the Friday you are at the Centre Stage watching Saint Etienne (with Sarah Cracknell forgetting the lyrics of their hit record Only Love Can Break Your Heart) and remembering the year that somebody gave you “Tiger Bay”….

Don’t worry, Stuart Murdoch isn’t so into extreme metal (or maybe he is, who knows) that he would include these two happy lads from the Netherlands in his line up, but All Tomorrow’s Parties (the best name in the world for a festival) is all about this, it is about having CRITERIA (in Capitals) and music has no limits.  Anything goes as long as it’s good.

During the last two weeks it was possible to enjoy a Nightmare Before Christmas curated by Godspeed You! Black Emperor, the In Between Days with bands selected by Amos (designers of toys which are small works of art) and the aforementioned Bowlie 2, all in Butlins and under the umbrella of ATP.

Bowlie 2 was my third time at Barry and Deborah’s festival, the first time was in 2008 at the ATP vs Pitchfork in Camber Sands and the second was in New York in 2009, that’s the one I have fondest memories of (and some black outs).  I am not going to describe all the concerts I saw during these three days, I am going to try and describe what it means to be at the festival

For those of you who don’t know, All Tomorrow’s Parties take place in small resorts that, in its own way, has its own particular charm.  The crowd, the artists and the organisation all move, eat, sleep and have fun under the same roof that gives the festival a very friendly atmosphere. The capacity is very reduced and instead of a festival it seems like a huge get-together of friends who are into the same music.  In our case it was quite weird, meeting Eugene Kelly from The Vasalines at God knows what time in the morning lost with a map in his hands looking for his apartment …or maybe a party….sorry but my English isn’t up to much.

Amongst the bands there is a lot of mutual respect.  The bands that play are chosen by other bands and more often than not they are friends and it is not at all uncommon to hear continuous references to the other bands of the line up on the stages.  There are no stars, only a group of bands having a great time. And only here in Bowlie 2 is it possible, and considered normal, that the “secret band” of the festival be Franz Ferdinand (and that they don’t even play on the main stage) and that Alex Kapranos joins Edwyn Collins and plays the guitar with him, this does not happen everyday.

The experience as a member of the public couldn’t be better either:  forget fighting to get a beer, racing from stage to stage or struggling to work out a timetable that avoids any clashes, at ATP everything is relaxed….at how many festivals is the main stage 3 minutes away from your room?

Don’t hesitate, take a week off, get flights and go and visit them…if you are fanatics of Primavera Sound you should be fanatics of All Tomorrow’s Parties too, there isn’t another project in the world that is as close (in all senses) to ours as Barry and Deborah and their team’s.

It is an honour to be welcomed in their house.

Joan Soley

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