We sent Georgina ‘Drumz of the South‘ Cook, photographer for FACT, The Guardian and more (as well as the illustrator for album sleeves such as Burial’s Untrue) to document the festival. You can read her account of ATP End of an Era below, and check out her photos on the following pages.
Georgina has also organised a gallery of ATP photos from other photographers dating back to the festival’s first events. You can view that here.
“It’s by no means the end of All Tomorrow’s Parties who have just announced ATP Iceland, but rather, an end of the UK festival weekenders held annually for 13 years at English holiday parks such as Butlins in Minehead and in this case, Pontins in Camber Sands.
I therefore tried to capture just as much – if not more – of the somewhat abstract British Holiday Park environment as I did the extremely well curated stages at ATP. As highlighted repeatedly in photos taken by ATP punters over the years and hopefully by my own photos, the British holiday park is one of labyrinthian apartment blocks, rainbow play areas, garish carpets, arcades, cartoon characters, fast food, old school pubs, seasides and general, comforting Britishness. Primarily, it’s the “chalet experience” that is most talked about by veteran ATP punters that I spoke to, of which its icons are seemingly fried eggs, baked beans, bottles of ketchup and booze, grown-up student types with facial hair lounging about or being silly, and of course, chalet parties -which often spill out on to the balconies.
Asides from the Chalet experience, most people attend ATP to genuinely listen to and experience the music curated each year by a different guest. This perhaps explains why a lot of the crowd were, in comparison to many other festivals, sober in both behaviour and dress – it’s less about jumping around in silly outfits until you pass out and more about real music for real musos. Hayley, one of our chalet buddies, a New-Zealander who with her husband has been to four ATPs, suggested that the weekenders also differ to other festivals in that the artists themselves tend to kick back and stick around for the whole weekend – there’s little barrier between they and the audience. Les Savy Fav‘s notoriously riotous front man Tim Harrington, for example, was spotted having it up to Har Mar Superstar and Zyna Hel thanked the crowd at the end of her whispery set, saying that she’d been to loads of ATP’s over the years.
Musical highlight of the weekend for me was Beak>, whose music, despite its simplicity and elegance, makes you want to punch the air and stamp holes into Pontins’ ravey carpet. There was a beautiful moment where drummer Geoff Barrow (of Portishead) and bassist Billy Fuller, lulled each other to the end of their last song – with eye contact, gradually falling into silence – and a less beautiful moment, which happened upon returning to London, when I accidentally head-butted my mate while head-banging to BEAK>’s ‘Wulfstan II’ in the dark. Nice one ATP.”
Georgina’s ATP playlist (Spotify link):
Folk Implosion – The New Folk Implosion
Beak> – >>
Tortoise – different albums
Elvis Costello & The Roots – Wise Up Ghost
Forest Swords album
LCD Soundsystem – ‘Losing my Edge’
Caribou – ‘Odessa’
Love – ‘Alone Again Or’
Calexico – ‘Alone Again Or’
Solar Bears – Supermigration
Tindersticks – ‘Whiskey and Water’
Van Morrison – ‘Into The Mystic’