All Tomorrow's Parties
Immerse yourself in a legendary music event.
Please note this is the film version, NOT the live music event.
For further information on the All Tomorrow's Parties live music event, click here.
It’s somewhat counter-intuitive, but even as it has become possible to source unlimited music in digital form and to store and play it on devices no bigger than mobile phones, the messy, unwieldy, old-fashioned business of the live music festival has continued to go from strength to strength. The granddaddy, Glastonbury, has swelled from counter-culture hub to fashionable counterculture hub to essential summer stopping-off-point for bourgeois hipsters, fashionistas and paparrazzi; while other top-tier, large-scale events like Reading, V and T in the Park welcome ever-bigger crowds and acts. At the same time, however, the age of the in-the-know music buff has extended upwards, with thirty- and fortysomethings clinging jealously to their fandom – and their right to attend festivals, preferably nice, adult, child-friendly ones with tolerable toilets and no drunken Goth teens. So it is that there has also flourished the ‘boutique’ festival: smaller in scale, more lavish in amenities, and much beloved by those who like to let go gently. The most musically credible and rigorously curated of these bijou affairs is All Tomorrow’s Parties, which grew out of an event titled The Bowlie Weekender put together by the Glasgow band Belle and Sebastian at Camber Sands holiday camp in 1999. The following year’s festival was curated by Mogwai; ten years on, AT P has become a purveyor of fine festival events for venues all around the world, and has welcomed guest curators including Sonic Youth, Jake and Dinos Chapman, Vincent Gallo and The Dirty Three. Most impressively, it’s kept its values solidly intact (no sudden slide into attention-grabbing populism, and still no visible corporate sponsorship). As this documentary makes abundantly and exhilaratingly clear, it really is all about the music. And a little bit about getting very drunk in chalets. Co-directed by Jonathan Caouette (Tarnation), Luke Morris, and countless fans and participants (credited as All Tomorrow’s People), this film is a passionate and profoundly involving assemblage of Super-8, camcorder and mobile phone footage shot over the entire history of the event. It captures the amiable, shambling, defiantly non-corporate atmosphere of this much-loved musical institution – but also nails the sky-high quality of the onstage talent that AT P and its curators select. Nick Cave’s side project Grinderman is incendiary, and The Gossip remind us that there’s musical substance behind the Beth Ditto hype; other featured acts include Belle and Sebastian, Daniel Johnston, Patti Smith, Sonic Youth, Slint, A Hawk and a Hacksaw and Roscoe Mitchell.
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