Maybe they should call it the All Tomorrow's Parties Tour.
After stints in Upstate New York and Asbury Park, New Jersey, All Tomorrow's Parties—a UK-born fest for hardcore music nerds predominantly featuring underground rock and noise bands—is headed to Manhattan.
This year's installment will be held September 21-23 at Pier 36 on the East River, between the Manhattan Bridge and the Williamsburg Bridge, just a short walk from two hipster nexuses: Manhattan's Lower East Side and Brooklyn's Williamsburg and Bushwick 'hoods. Each ATP fest features a "curator"; this year's lineup was curated by Greg Dulli, singer of fest headliner and recently reunited '90s rockers Afghan Whigs. He recruited Philip Glass with Tyondai Braxton, the Roots, Lightning Bolt, the Make-Up, Godspeed You Black Emperor, the Dirty Three, the Antlers, Chavez and many others to perform.
For three years straight, ATP New York was, in my humble opinion, the best music festival ever. From 2008-2010, the event was held in Monticello, New York, about a two-hour drive from Manhattan, at Kutsher’s Country Club, aka the last of the Borscht Belt resorts. The place was like summer camp for music nerds. Some 3,000 fans were set loose on a decrepit hotel and resort grounds with a pond, ski hill, golf course and more. The place was sometimes literally falling apart—a shower faucet fell off in my hand and walls were falling down. This was, at first, totally endearing and lent the fest a unique character. But after three years of abuse at the hands of rowdy, karaoke-singing, up-all-night music fans, the festival's producers were forced to leave; the place was in too poor a condition to continue.
In 2011, ATP relocated to Asbury Park, New Jersey. I drove out for the fest and was a bit disappointed—it had nothing on Kutsher's. And attendance continued to be low, consisting only of hardcore fans willing to make the trek.
“I think it will be the change ATP needs to make it positive,” Barry Hogan, the fest's organizer, told the New York Times. “The events are great but we never get quite the amount of ticket sales we need to make it cost-effective. The climate is tough.”
He added, “Even though we love Asbury Park and had a fantastic event there last year, we have found a killer spot in New York that you can walk to from the Lower East Side. It was a tough decision but we had to do what was right for the event to ensure its continued success in the long run.”
Weekend tickets for ATP cost $199, while single-day passes go for $60 and $75. Buy 'em at ATPfestival.com, and I'll see ya there.