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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

ATP Film – A Review

10 Years of All Tomorrow's Parties on Film

Written by Katie Weatherall

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All Tomorrow Parties, clinic a music festival that largely happens at out of season holiday camps, try celebrates it’s tenth year in 2009 and part of that anniversary celebration sees the release of this film, edited from fans and filmmakers footage on equipment ranging from super 8′s to mobile phones, the viewer is let in to the world of All Tomorrow’s Parties. The ensuing montage, of performances and backstage vox pops, is a cross between a really great music documentary and an advert for the music festival.

The documentary side of this film’s personality informs the viewer that the premise of ATP started with Glasgow’s saccharine indie pop makers, Belle and Sebastien. Along with visionary ATP promoter, Barry Hogan, they originally had the idea of putting on a festival in a holiday camp, curated by artists and did just that for the ATP pre-cursor, Bowlie Weekender in Camber Sands. The viewer also learns that ATP manages to exist independently, without the help from corporate sponsors, adhering to a punk rock ethic.

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The advertisement side shows you just how much fun a festival in a holiday camp can be with footage of holidaymakers looking like the cat who got the cream whilst dancing to Micah P. Hinson, or playing a rendition of ‘Maps’ on the chalet kitchen sink.

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I’ve alluded here to some of the musical footage that belies the rockumentary. If Kitsune is the indie electro rave that you have to be young to get into, ATP is where you retire, where you give up on pretending to keep up with the rapidly changes fads of NME and resign to sticking to what you know best. And if what you know best hits the Richter scale somewhere between alternative and experimental, then you’ll be familiar with a fair few bands that frequent the ATP line-ups. Not only are there fantastic show-stopping ATP performances from YYYs, Nick Cave’s Grinderman, Gossip, and Mars Volta, you also get to see the spontaneous performances that may not have been billed, like the Grizzly Bear beach a capella and Daniel Johnston regaling his insecurities via music in the grass and from his chalet.

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These elements of the film are weaved together with a cinematic collage of artists backstage, like Bat For Lashes dancing down the stairs of her accommodation. And just to remind you where you are, there are also vintage stills and clips of Camber Sands as it is known best, as a holiday camp, including what looks like a dance competition whose contestants could rival anyone down the front of a moshpit.

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Having never been to ATP myself (but always having wanted to), I wonder whether this has captured the essence of the festival. But with enough music and merriment to keep you entertained, it really doesn’t matter.

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Patti Smith closes the film and I’ll close this article with a quote in the film from her, which is in line with an underlying message of ATP, “rock and roll belongs to the kids and not the big companies.”

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3 Responses to “ATP Film – A Review”

  1. sabrina says:

    i’ve always wanted to go to an ATP party, they seem perfectly off-the-radar.
    as for the film, where is/did it play?
    can i still see it somewhere?

  2. Woody says:

    Sabrina, The film has not live screening scheduled at the moment. A tour has just finished of the screening plus performances from Les Savy Fav.

    The DVD of the film is available to buy from all major online stores, play.com etc. It’s also listed on lovefilm so will probably be rent-able from there soon.

    Just walk around atp and keep your ears open late at night for parties.

  3. I enjoy your stories very much because they are written in an understandable coherent. So I can read them although I come from Austria and get some problems to translate English articles.

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