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EIFF 2009 - All Tomorrow’s Parties

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EIFF - All Tomorrow’s Parties

David Pollock meets the curator of the All Tomorrow’s Parties festival to find out more about the fan-created documentary

For those who count themselves among its regular crowd, the feeling is that once you’ve been to All Tomorrow’s Parties you can’t go back to just any old festival. Currently held in a Butlin’s holiday camp at Minehead, Somerset, the tri-annual weekend places a bunch of underground and alternative bands within the rather incongruous setting of the camp’s entertainment hall and pioneered the idea that the headlining act should choose who plays with them on the bill.

Now the festival is the subject of a feature documentary produced by Warp Films which will receive its UK premiere at the Edinburgh International Film Festival. The event at the Picture House will feature a special live performance to boot – we’re sworn to secrecy, but fans of ATP won’t be disappointed. The festival’s organiser, Barry Hogan, explains how the film has been made using the same democratic spirit that means fans are occasionally asked to choose the festival’s bill.

‘It’s made up of footage recorded by the fans themselves,’ he says. ‘They’ve used Super 8, video cameras and mobile phone footage; it’s like a collage. You see people arriving during the day, bands playing and the chalet parties which happen afterwards.’

Recorded over various events and featuring performances from Sonic Youth, Belle and Sebastian, Patti Smith, Iggy and the Stooges, Portishead, Mogwai, Slint and many others, the film, says Hogan, captures the spirit of a festival that predates the idea of the boutique event; the first ATP followed on a year after Belle and Sebastian’s Bowlie Weekender in 1999.

‘We’re looking to have a party to celebrate our tenth anniversary over the next year,’ he says, ‘and I’d like to do more events around the world to go with the ones we do in America and Australia. Japan would be good. And Scotland? Why not – we could fill a whole weekend just with great Scottish bands.’

HMV Picture House, Edinburgh, Wed 24 Jun; Filmhouse, Edinburgh, Thu 25 Jun.

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