“It’s kind of like an anti-festival in a way,” Barry Hogan says of All Tomorrow’s Parties (ATP), which he founded in 1999 as a smaller, more intimate alternative to Britain’s larger music festivals. But over the past nine years, Hogan has grown ATP into one of the world’s most robust music festivals, and later this month, ATP will hold its first festival in the New York City area, featuring shoegaze pioneers My Bloody Valentine in their first American show in 16 years.
According to Hogan, My Bloody Valentine’s appearance at ATP NY will be the culmination of an almost decade-long correspondence between Hogan and the band’s frontman, Kevin Shields. “We’re big fans of My Bloody Valentine and whatever [Kevin] does outside of that as well,” Hogan says of his organization. So when Shields mentioned about a year ago that he was thinking of getting the band back together, Hogan worked to make it a reality.
After putting together My Bloody Valentine’s UK tour, Hogan and Shields decided that the New York festival would be the right place to showcase the band’s stateside return. “[Kevin] was born in New York, so I think he thought it was a good way for him to start the tour out here,” Hogan says.
The New York area has recently had a music festival renaissance of sorts, sparked by the three-day All Points West festival in Jersey City, N.J. Asked about the recent New York-area flux of bigger festivals, which are much more popular in the western part of the country, Hogan answered simply, “It’s probably just about time.” ATP NY is being held in Monticello, NY, about two hours from Manhattan, from September 19th through the 21st.
In addition to performing, My Bloody Valentine is curating the third night of the three-day festival. Each ATP is curated by one or more bands or celebrities, who are asked by Hogan to select all the bands, musicians, and films they want to see at the festival. “It’s sort of like making a mixtape,” Hogan says.
Past festival curators have included rock bands Sonic Youth, Modest Mouse, and Portishead, as well as filmmaker Vincent Gallo and Simpson’s creator Matt Groening. My Bloody Valentine’s selections include performances by indie mainstays Dinosaur Jr and Yo La Tengo, as well as psych-rockers Mercury Rev and Brian Jonestown Massacre.
Hogan and ATP scheduled the festival’s other two nights. The first night features five artists each playing a full album as their set, including Built to Spill performing their celebrated 1997 indie rock epic “Perfect From Now On” and Tortoise playing their 1996 post-rock masterpiece “Millions Now Living Will Never Die.”
Full album concerts experienced a surge in popularity over the past few years. Hogan explained that ATP started the full album trend with the Don’t Look Back concert series in Britain, which featured the Stooges performing “Funhouse,” and later Hogan personally convinced Sonic Youth to tour performing their 1988 album “Daydream Nation” in full. “We have started a trend. I don’t know if that’s a good or a bad thing,” Hogan says.
“There’s some real shit out there,” Hogan continued, citing recent performances by British goth rockers The Mission.
The United States is relatively new territory for ATP, and its only previous stateside incursions were held in Los Angeles. Still, Hogan is confident that ATP NY will stand out among American music festivals. The festival is only selling about 2,800 tickets; by comparison, Coachella Music Festival in Indio, CA has over 60,000 attendees. Hogan also explained that ATP tries not to completely rely on advertising. “Some of the bigger festivals here really seem to be striving on sponsorships,” he says. “If you go to some festivals, it’s rammed down your throat everywhere you go… I don’t think that shows much integrity, to be honest.”
Over the years, ATP festivals have featured a long roster of bands and artists that Hogan hopes to expand. “I’d love Pavement to get back together and be at ATP,” Hogan says, placing the ’90s band at the top of his “endless list” of dream performers. Hogan is also hoping to book active artists such as Neil Young or Tom Waits.
But what Barry Hogan seems most excited for right now is My Bloody Valentine’s performance in New York. “The show they’ve done is so amazing,” he says. “It’s definitely set to blow your head off.”
—Staff writer Jeff W. Feldman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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