There has been more head-scratching this week for attendees of December's All Tomorrow's Parties festival, curated by the National. With a sense of deja-vu after the Jeff Mangum weekend was moved back to this March, the rumour mill kicked in over the bank holiday weekend, when ATP were away running a stage at Primavera in Barcelona. Had it sold out, been cancelled or been moved? Another event was in place for Butlins on those dates in December and tickets were no longer on sale. Intriguingly, the "how to get there" section in the official festival info page had been changed to "details coming soon", which was the lead that suggested it had been moved.
The promoters have now announced that The National ATP will take place in the festival's original home of Camber Sands as Butlins, who had hosted most of the events over the last five years at Minehead, have ended their relationship with the festival promoters. The event is still being curated by the National and the impressive line-up remains intact. Existing tickets are valid, with the last batch going on sale tomorrow, and you have until the end of June to apply for a refund if you can no longer attend. All details are on their official site.
The Pontins complex at Camber Sands was the regular home to ATP festivals until 2007 when they began to use the much larger Butlins at Minehead for nearly all their UK festivals. The last one at Camber was the ATP vs Pitchfork event in 2008. ATP are assuring people that Camber has been upgraded, obviously worried that people will compare it unfavourably with Minehead.
Information on the refubishments can be found here, and I have to say it looks a lot better than when I was last there in 2005.
651 apartments have been redecorated including new curtains, new flooring in most and new beds
All Club and Classic apartments have had a full refurbishment
New fridges, new cookers, new flooring, modern microwaves and toaster kitchen inventory
Brand new addition of 130 new apartments added to the resort
3381 brand new beds.
Two new brand Dance floors
Fully refurbished and new carpets in the Fun Factory and Lunars
Queen Victoria pub/restaurant fully refurbished
If you've never been there, I think it's fair to say that it has quite a few differences with Butlins at Minehead. When I was there we had to use £5 card meters for chalet electricity and someone had to sleep on a sofabed in the living room due to the layout. I don't think this has changed, but feel free to correct me if it has! There were only two main venues, although the larger one can hold everyone on site. I think the capacity is 2,800 which is actually smaller than the Centre Stage at Minehead. There isn't as much choice in terms of food and drink, though I thought the main bar, the Queen Victoria, was great. The lack of bars meant that Camber was much more inclined towards chalet parties and this obviously added to the fun. Also the venues usually sounded great and no bands had to play anywhere as soul-less as the Pavilion stage at Minehead. So it's a case of swings and roundabouts really, though I have a lot of affection for Camber. The picture above was taken by me at a chalet party at Camber; the digital timestamp says it was taken at 7am. No sleeping in the living room that night!
My review of the Slint curated ATP at Camber Sands is here