'A thankless task' - ATP and independent festival promotion in the UK

Williamson, J. (2016) 'A thankless task' - ATP and independent festival promotion in the UK. Keep It Simple Make It Fast (KISMIF), Porto, Portugal, 17-22 Jul 2016. (Unpublished)

133900.pdf - Accepted Version

133900Pres.pdf - Presentation



This case study of the All Tomorrow’s Parties (ATP) festival aims to tease out a number of questions about the nature of independent and DIY festival production in the UK. Founded by Barry Hogan in 1999, its unique approach to festival organisation and curation stood in marked contrast to the homogenised nature of most British festivals. At a time when the live music industry was becoming more corporate and professional, ATP appeared resolutely and refreshingly amateurish. Its appeal relied on this approach, the spaces used (for example, holiday camps, country clubs and disused airforce bases) and the choice of performers (chosen by other artists rather than promoters). However, the paper will argue that the desire to compete in a now saturated market means that ATP has alienated its core audience and lost the trust of some of its key partners. This was evident when organisational and financial failings culminated in liquidation of the original ATP company in 2012 while the new company's subsequent financial problems have been amplified on social media. Hogan has described promoting festivals as ‘a thankless task’ and argued that ‘a promoter losing money is like saying a butcher serves pork’ (Jones 2014). But this serves to deflect from a situation wherein ATP appears incapable of being either flexible enough to satisfy the music industries or rigid enough to uphold its original ideals. Instead, increased expectations from both audiences and artists caused by changes in the live music industry in mean this once visionary independent festival has become an ill-fitting anomaly in the 2016 festival landscape.

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item
Keywords:festivals, ATP.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Williamson, Dr John
Authors: Williamson, J.
College/School:College of Arts > School of Culture and Creative Arts > Music
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2016 The Author
Publisher Policy:Reproduced with the permission of the Author
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