karen o yeah yeah yeahs all tomorrow's parties
Karen O. All photos from various ATP events by Maria Jefferis. 

‘It Wouldn't Have Been Done By Anyone in Their Right Mind’ – The Oral History of ATP

We spoke to founders, staff, bands, fans and writers about the boom and bust of All Tomorrow's Parties, the UK's most left-field festivals.
July 1, 2021, 8:30am

In 1999, the indie-pop band Belle and Sebastian held a music festival called The Bowlie Weekender at Pontin's Holiday camp in Camber Sands, Sussex. Merging indie rock (The Flaming Lips, Broadcast, Sleater-Kinney) with the dilapidated settings of an ageing holiday camp proved to be a winning combo – so much so, the promoter they worked with, Barry Hogan, decided to do more of them under the banner of All Tomorrow’s Parties (ATP). 

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Inviting bands to curate the line-ups for each annual event, ATP quickly became the UK’s leading underground and experimental music festival, with events curated by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Mogwai, Autechre, Sonic Youth, Portishead and more. Its “Don’t Look Back” series kick-started the play-your-classic-album-in-full trend that continues today, and they reignited the careers of countless retired bands, such as My Bloody Valentine, The Stooges and Slint.

The festival expanded, hosting up to four weekend events in the UK a year – as well as in America, Iceland, Japan, Australia – and had its own stage at Primavera in Barcelona. It refused branding and sponsorship at the festivals and also became a record label.  

However, as the festival moved into its second decade of operation, money and organisational issues started to become public. ATP liquidated itself while being over £2 million in debt and started again under a new name. Festival dates and gigs were rescheduled, some cancelled, bands and suppliers were supposedly not being paid, there were public spats with ticket agencies and fraught relationships with the press. 

When it came crashing down in 2016 - with the last minute cancellation of a Drive Like Jehu-curated weekend, as well as an Iceland festival - it did so under great public scrutiny, leaving behind an important cultural legacy, but one that left a sour taste for many who felt let down.

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Five years since the last ever ATP weekender – a broadly successful weekend curated by Stewart Lee – I spoke to its founder and staff, as well as bands, fans, journalists and curators, to reflect on the history and legacy of All Tomorrow’s Parties. 

BEGINNINGS

Barry Hogan (ATP founder): The idea was that artists would curate [the festival] like making a mixtape – it was music events designed for record collectors.

Stuart Braithwaite (guitar, Mogwai - played and curated ATP): The first ATP was cancelled because ticket sales were poor. We got brought in to choose bands and booked people like Sonic Youth and the Super Furry Animals.

Barry Hogan: Sonic Youth hadn’t played England for years, and when we booked them it exploded overnight. 

Steve Albini (guitar and vocals, Shellac – played and curated ATP): We played some conventional festivals, which reinforced a prejudice against them. We didn’t like the cattle call nature of unrelated artists playing in an un-curated fashion. We established the precedent that we weren’t gonna play festivals. ATP asked and we said no, and then Mogwai intervened. We played and it was different. Most festivals, there’s a competition to get the biggest names as headliners, then everybody else was whoever was on tour, and then the bottom rungs were filled with payola spots where labels would pay to get people added to a bill. ATP was entirely curated. Somebody chose every single one of those bands because they thought they were awesome. 

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Stewart Lee (comedian, curator of the final ATP in 2016): Those of us who were proper music fans were used to picking up the crumbs around the fringes of Glastonbury. ATP was a chance to see all these things, many of which have never played on British shores before or since. And you got to sleep inside, which was amazing. Twenty years ago, we were delighted just to be dry. 

Deborah Kee Higgins (ATP co-director): It was like a wedding for bands. Everybody came together to celebrate.

Geoff Barrow (Portishead/Beak – played and curated ATP): When I first went to ATP it was like I’d found my musical home. 

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Steve Albini (left) onstage with Shellac. Photo: Maria Jefferis

PONTINS AND BUTLIN’S

Stewart Lee: I was talking to a bloke from the band US Maple at Camber Sands, and he wasn’t aware of what Pontins was and assumed it was an internment centre for young offenders. I had to explain that it was a British working class holiday destination. He was really freaked out by that. 

JR Moores (music writer / multiple ATP attendee): Although it wasn’t The Ritz, the chalet situation was luxury. It put me off returning to festivals where it always rains, you have to stay in a freezing cold tent and brave the unsavoury communal toilets. ATP ruined all other festivals for me.  

Nichole Benavente (ATP production runner): When Yoko Ono came on site, we had a five star hotel booked for her in London and a driver on hold, but she got there and was like: “I want to stay here.”

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Matt Groening (creator of ‘The Simpsons’ / ATP Curator): It was the best festival I've ever been to, in terms of comfort. It was really civilised, and I was introduced to cider. 

Stewart Lee: Younger people have been sort of reprogrammed to expect degrees of luxury at festivals, and obviously it’s difficult because Pontins and Butlin’s weren’t going to allow Barry to bring on concession stands because they wanted to make money from selling their own awful food.

Barry Hogan: The food options at Pontins were disgusting. You wouldn’t give it to people in prison. 

Lord Sinclair (host of ATP bingo and music quiz): There’s a pub on site, so we thought we’d do a quiz, and it got more and more popular. I started doing rock ‘n’ roll bingo too, which led to David Bowie bingo, Nick Cave bingo and culminating in existentialist Paul Stanley of Kiss bingo. I’d make up my own calls, like: “It’s number 10, cunts live there.” There were quite a lot of regulars; one came up to me and said, “I’m not feeling good, I’ve just had a line off the bins behind the kitchen and shat myself.” I said if you use that as your quiz team name I’ll give you a point, and he did.  

NO ARSEHOLES

Barry Hogan: Most bands get it and are great, but some less so. The National-curated one was difficult. Their manager went from zero to fury – a walking landmine. We were made to feel uncomfortable in our own festival, and that’s not fun. Kevin Shields [My Bloody Valentine] is not exactly a laugh a minute. It should be fun, but he had all these demands. ATP was not about massaging people's egos. 

Stewart Lee: One night I got this message saying The Fall weren’t prepared to go on unless I personally went to the dressing room and gave them £10,000 in cash. 

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Barry Hogan: One time The Fall turned up and, for their rider, took ten cases of beer, six bottles of wine and all the champagne. They cleaned us out. They put it all in their chalet to have a party. I get this call that they’re side of stage, and Mark E Smith is kicking off because there’s no rider. I explained they’d already had it, but they were refusing to play without one. So we took the skeleton key and broke into The Fall’s chalet and took their own booze and brought it to them. After the show, I hear this message on the radio: “It’s the Fall, they’ve been robbed!” Mark used to give me an invoice with a fake VAT number on it, and when I called him on it he pulled out a whisky bottle and tried to hit me over the head with it. Twice he tried to bottle me. 

Al Sundvall (ATP production runner): Barry had plans for an arseholes of ATP festival we wanted to get posters done for, as there was a list of bands that wouldn’t get asked back. Killing Joke were real pricks to the staff – really rude and aggressive, and it almost got physical. Plus, they wouldn’t stop smoking weed inside. The Black Lips were total pricks and kept stealing booze from other bands’ chalets. It was never easy with The Fall, but they were always welcome back. 

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Barry Hogan: We had to ban the Butthole Surfers too. Gibby Haynes, the singer, passed out in catering and threw coffee over the female security guard who woke him. Vincent Gallo requested Christina Aguilera, but I think that was more because he was interested in having sex with her. He picked some incredible stuff, but he’s a dick. He thinks Donald Trump is a great man. When he was applying for a work permit, under nationality he put “proud American”, like fucking Kid Rock or something.

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Mark E Smith. Photo: Maria Jefferis

ARTISTS AND FANS TOGETHER

Al Sundvall: There were no VIP areas, so you would run into your heroes at any given moment. 

Vincent Moon (filmmaker, made several films at ATP): It was an extremely radical approach to what a music festival can be, with everyone mixing together. 

Declan Allen (ATP resident DJ): There was a five-a-side tournament, so you could watch Teenage Fanclub, Mogwai and Belle and Sebastian all kick each other senseless.

Lord Sinclair: It’s surreal being in a chalet with Sean Lennon, Yoko Ono and Peaches. 

John Doran (co-founder and editor, ‘The Quietus’): I saw Public Enemy in full stage gear, playing crazy golf; the Fall walking out of a laptop performance en masse to play the slot machines; queuing up at the bar next to PJ Harvey; seeing various members of Sunn O))), Mastodon and the Butthole Surfers body popping to “Walk This Way” by Run DMC, and Aerosmith queuing up for pizza with Julian Cope. 

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Sam Walton (music writer / multiple ATP attendee): I saw Nick Cave in the wave pool in tight Speedos, having a fucking whale of a time, and Chuck D DJing in the corner of the super-shitty Irish bar.  

Lord Sinclair: Patti Smith was taking arty photographs of the seagulls. She was very upset her set clashed with the final episode of Doctor Who

Barry Hogan: It was like an indie Stella Street. You’d have Nick Cave living next door to Bobby Gillespie or Jason Pierce from Spiritualized. 

Steve Albini: There are indelible moments, seeing people you admire as artists cavorting and frolicking with people on a purely human level. Where everything is so good-willed – people sharing booze and sharing drugs and making dinner for each other. I like to play cards, and we set up a makeshift poker table and had a game running the entire time.

Stuart Braithwaite: It was funny finding out Steve was a total card shark. He took a bunch of money off my friends. 

Jennifer Lucy Allan (music writer / multiple ATP attendee): The idea that everyone was around and you could talk to them was amazing. You felt like you were part of a meaningful community – it was accessible.

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Photo: Maria Jefferis

CHALET PARTIES

Luke Turner (author and co-founder of ‘The Quietus’): One year there was a day where everything was a bit adenoidal and abstract, so we spent it in the chalet becoming unhinged, singing Erasure and Pet Shop Boys. In those weird chalets where everything was slightly off white and the plastic sheets crinkled under you, it felt really rum and wrong and English in this properly grotty way. Then there was the late night behaviour. I remember, one year, a huge crocodile of people wandering around the site bashing trollies, pans and metallic stuff, a sort of Einsturzende Neubauten tribute band in parade form. At its best it had this brilliant feral energy.

John Doran: Energised by the wild line-ups, people would form impromptu bands. I have memories of watching an ensemble called The Sores Of Wogan at 4AM; a collection of people in their underwear with masks made from carrier bags, dripping in what looked like porridge, hitting pans with wooden spoons. I went to one chalet party where the enterprising residents had made a jacuzzi in their bath using washing up liquid and hot water, eventually leading to some very modern scenes. 

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Vincent Moon: We’d be looking for a party at 3AM by following the sounds. Inside, there would be 40 or 50 people going crazy. Sometimes there was no difference between the artists’ shows and the audience’s parties. They were some of the wildest moments of my life. 

Barry Hogan: I lied, and told Lightning Bolt they had permission to set up and play a surprise gig outside of John Peel’s chalet early one morning.

Jennifer Lucy Allan: You used to follow the sound until you found absolute fucking chaos. My friend and me ended up in the ATP documentary, standing on a table under a strobe light. Thankfully, I'm only viewable for about three seconds, because that was the weekend where my boyfriend at the time said I looked like a Shaun Ryder burns victim. There are some photos from ATP that are an important part of my history as a human being, but which I hope nobody ever sees.

Al Sundvall: I remember someone snorting ketamine off the altar of the church that was onsite, and stealing a book of handwritten children’s prayers to God. They called me up in a panic a few days later, asking me to mail it back anonymously for them to atone. 

Nichole Benavente: I partied the hardest I’ve ever partied at ATP. One time, I wanted to see how many days in a row I can do MDMA. I did it the first ATP weekend, through the week where we had a bunch of London shows, and then the next ATP weekend. I think I did it for 12 days straight. I got the fear so bad. 

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John Doran: Research not being my strong suit before I gave up drinking, I was blithely convinced that [drone band] Sunn O))) was a minimal techno DJ, and persuaded my best mate that we should double drop half an hour before he took to the decks so we’d be at full judder when Richard D James came on afterwards. After coming up like a Harrier Jump Jet, I spent most of their set rolling around the floor gibbering about monks. 

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Deborah Kee Higgins (centre) and Barry Hogan (right). Photo: Maria Jefferis

EXPANDING AND OVERREACHING

Stuart Braithwaite: The one they did in upstate New York was falling apart. My room was so bad I slept on the bus. 

Lord Sinclair: New York was very rundown. When we went back for the second year, we were given the same rooms. I opened the drawer and some socks I'd left behind the year before were still there. My friend found a crack pipe in hers. She called reception to get it sorted, but the person on the desk was in rehab, so she sent her mum up to sort it.

Al Sundvall: We were preparing the rooms for people’s arrival in New York and there was a skunk living in one of them. 

Geoff Barrow: The one in New York felt like there was a serious chance of getting Legionnaires’ disease.

Lord Sinclair: I don’t think America ever paid for itself. 

Nichole Benavente: I was made a director of the US company so that I could open a bank account for the business. We had to pay a band in cash and I couldn’t get it all out without pre-ordering, so I drove around taking cash out of the business account until I couldn’t, and then transferred some to my personal account, and eventually was stopped and threatened to be reported to the IRS. Apparently what I was doing was shady and borderline illegal. I got out of it by crying and claiming ignorance.

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Stuart Braithwaite: It got to the point where people took it for granted and they were probably putting too many events on.

MONEY TROUBLE

Deborah Kee Higgins: When did the cracks start to show? From the very start. After the second or third ATP, Barry’s old business partner absconded with a bunch of cash, and in a way we never really recovered. We were always behind. 

Barry Hogan: We overextended ourselves, took hits on events and fell into a hole we couldn't climb out of. Up to 2010 we’d had an amazing run, but then we did one ATP that didn’t sell enough - sadly the Matt Groening one, which had one of the best line-ups. 

Deborah Kee Higgins: All of a sudden you lose £500,000 on a festival and it’s just me and Barry trying to pay it back. There were days like, ‘We have to come up with £100,000 by Monday and today’s Thursday.’ Promoting is a bit of a thankless task – if everything goes well, no one notices; if it goes badly then it’s finger pointing.

Barry Hogan: We fell into a deep hole and tried to climb out, but the problem is there was an article that came out in The Stool Pigeon. The guy that wrote it [Alex Marshall] has a super hatred for us for some reason. It wasn’t very accurate and it didn’t portray the real picture of what was going on, so then it became public scrutiny and any time things went against us it just got amplified and it became untenable. Lots of doors started to close because of the article.

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Phil Hebblethwaite (editor and publisher of The Stool Pigeon): I loved ATP. It was a difficult decision to run the piece, because we’d been really closely aligned – they’d been very good to us. Ultimately we decided on the clear public interest in telling people it was rocky on the back end of the business.

Luke Turner: The Stool Pigeon was right to publish. The research was solid and legally fact-checked. I know a lot of people were angry at the paper for publishing, but they had a right, and arguably a duty. You can't give people a free pass just because they mean well.

Phil Hebblethwaite: It’s almost an embarrassingly fair article. It's well put together and really well researched, but if I was commissioning that now I’d be a lot tougher. There was a good public interest reason for doing it, and that was to tell our readers that if you buy a ticket for ATP that event might not go ahead, and there’s no guarantee you’ll get your money back, and that came to pass. Alex Marshall was a huge ATP fan. He’s a top notch journalist for the New York Times. The idea that he has a vendetta against ATP is absurd. 

Al Sundvall: There was definitely a feeling of there being too many festivals, or one going on sale to pay for the last, but we were a bit naive and young and didn't understand the full extent of it. 

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Deborah Kee Higgins: We had no negative press for years, so there’s always the case of things getting a backlash. Also, Barry can be a bit of a mouthy cunt. 

Al Sundvall: Barry didn’t do himself many favours when he’d be writing his bullish intros in the festival programme, that he used as his means of addressing criticism. I used to have a folder that was just insults he would send via email. I remember Drowned in Sound emailing to kick off that we'd done a Pitchfork-curated festival when they were on our doorstep. Barry wrote something like, “Tell those drowned in semen cry-babies that we’d never do a festival with them.” When someone replied, they accidentally included Barry’s response, which didn’t do a lot to placate them. 

A journalist who reported on ATP [not Alex Marshall]: ATP leadership could get intimidating and hostile in response to news reports on their latest fuck-up – of which there were many in the last few years - calling up to shout, or sending sniffy emails. They seemed convinced that journalists had it in for them, even when they were routinely dicking around fans and bands. Much as I loved the festivals, their self-righteousness and inability to accept responsibility for what became a clear pattern of behaviour left a really bad taste.

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Photo: Maria Jefferis

COCK-UP OR CONSPIRACY?

Geoff Barrow: There were bad stories about people not getting paid, and while I never distrusted Barry, his business model wasn’t working. He was like a gambler: “It’ll be fine, and then I’ll be able to pay everyone back.” From my experience, it was more a case of bad business choices rather than him wanting to fuck anyone over. 

Deborah Kee Higgins: People have this idea we were taking all the money and driving around in Lamborghinis. It was so far from the truth. Every penny went back into the festival. 

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Stewart Lee: No master criminal thinks: ‘I’ll make a million pounds by putting on the Threnody Ensemble at Pontins and not pay them.’ This whole world is not a route to the loot. He wasn't trying to scam anyone; he just seemed to get off on putting amazing things together and the danger of it nearly not working.

Steve Albini: It became grotesque. The way Barry programmed ATP was he let bands ask for what they needed and would agree it. Booking agents read Barry as a soft touch and started asking for outlandish fees, and he would agree and then worry about trying to get the money later. That rapidly created a spiral of debt that engulfed the company. He was overspending on all the artists and then ended up owing artists money and having to make good on it years later, and in a lot of cases was never able to make good on it, us included. That was a predatory practice by booking agents. If there's anybody to blame specifically, it should be shared between Barry and the agents who were scalping him mercilessly.

Matthew Benn (Hookworms, played ATP and were scheduled to play the cancelled ATP-organised Jabberwocky festival): I don’t think it registered with me at the time just how much they were paying those bands. There was no way on earth it was ever going to be sustainable.

Nichole Benavente: They had the purest intentions. They paid the highest rates in the industry and I think got away with it for so long because they made agents so much money reviving their old clients. Agents are the first ones to get paid, so they were like: “Let’s go ahead and try it.”

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Barry Hogan: We used to say: we’re ATP, not ATM. The agents were vampires. I have a reputation for overpaying bands because I wanted them to feel like they were getting a good deal.

Steve Albini: I’ve seen people shit the bed in a lot of different ways, so I’m somewhat sympathetic for someone who has reached beyond their grasp and finds himself up to his neck in shit. What blew up ATP was surrendering to the desire to make the experience incredible for everybody with absolutely no practical considerations. It’s irresponsible to promise more than you can deliver and then leave people on the hook for years, but if you’re going to flame out, the way to flame out is by trying to make everything incredible for everybody and failing.

Al Sundvalll: There was a full five years of Sundays in the production office of people asking for money all day. We would constantly be taking money from merch and ferrying it to the production office so Barry could put out a fire. Constantly robbing Peter to pay Paul. 

Stewart Lee: The weekend before my ATP, he advertised he was selling loads of stuff, including these little figures he used to collect. Was there some bill that just had to be paid, so he had to have some kind of fire sale where he sold all his own stuff that wasn’t nailed down? I don’t know. He’s like someone in a continuous forward motion, leaving this trail of explosions behind him, but along the way there were these fantastic festivals. 

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Matt Groening: I didn’t take a fee both times I curated. It was such a thrill to do – but also because I was mystified by how this could possibly work financially. 

Phil Hebblethwaite: The curiosity of it all is that he would honour old debts, which legally he didn’t have to if he liquidated the company. I guess he wanted to keep people on side and carry on doing business, but also I think he wants to do right by people he owes money to. But that is leading you on a fast road to destruction. 

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Stuart Braithwaite: It was a sad loss from a music point of view, but I was also sad to see people were gleeful about it. With music, because it’s such a personal thing, people can’t take a step back. It sucks when people lose money, but it doesn’t have to be because of skulduggery. 

Barry Hogan: People were dancing on our graves – like, “Fuck you, good riddance.” That was hard to stomach, but you just have to just take it on the chin, because we fucked up, we know we made mistakes, we know we let people down. 

Al Sundvall: It had a significant knock-on effect to suppliers and bands. You can’t downplay that. Some people are going to hate Barry for the rest of their lives. But I do 100 percent feel like they were only ever trying to do the right thing. 

Edgar Smith (JC Flowers, played ATP/signed to ATP Records): There was this Gestapo message board tone to a lot of the public response. When you look at large companies, they probably have the same debt profile as ATP and they get away with it. People just want blood. Where’s my money? I thought this was a soundly regulated indie festival. Like, come on, really? I realise people got ripped off, but this sudden transformation from rock star to prudent financial actuary is dubious.

Stewart Lee: It was a case of, alright, fine, it’s gone wrong – but you don’t have to be so pleased about it, because you're not going to get anything like this again. 

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Barry Hogan: After Jabberwocky, the press was carrying on like we'd killed someone. We got doxxed and someone threw a concrete brick through the window of our house. Our cat sleeps right where it landed and it would have killed it but fortunately it wasn't there. It's like, really? Over a £35 gig ticket?

Lord Sinclair: People felt let down, but I guess it depends on how many years of good times you had as to how much sympathy you've got. 

Al Sundvall: Those last ones were such emotional experiences; people were in tears for so much of the time.

Edgar Smith: We were supposed to be playing the cancelled Iceland event, and it was like, “Barry, we’re fucking stuck in Iceland. You sent us here, we’re fucking down a grand, there's no festival and we're on a fucking abandoned Nato base.” There were difficult situations, but he did come through. He wired us a couple of grand. 

JR Moores: I suppose there was the slim hope that if you kept buying tickets and attending it could help to turn the fortunes around again. ATP prided itself on its “no arseholes policy”. By the end, though, the arsehole spotlight was aimed squarely at the organisation itself.  

Edgar Smith: Barry is a bit of a wide boy, but I’d take a wide boy over the nice middle class people in music who come across sound but turn very nasty the second they don’t get what they want. He fucked up, but it wasn't this scheming malicious duplicitousness. It's just a bumbling industry and he's a bumbling person. I can't bring myself to dislike the man. 

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Barry Hogan: In the end, I pulled the plug and said I can’t fucking do this anymore, it’s not worth it. Everyone was against us. 

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Photo: Maria Jefferis

LIFE-CHANGING EXPERIENCES

Luke Turner: I don’t think there’d be a Quietus magazine without ATP, as it’s where John Doran and I properly hit it off. We spent an evening in the children’s pirate ship sandpit getting spannered on the dib dabs, went to see a load of really bracing music and then had a proper blaster in the pub disco. I remember when Lisa from Supersonic – another under-regarded festival – played “Hit The North” by The Fall, I was hugging John and we were jumping up and down, and I thought, ‘This fella is alright!’ Eventually we set up tQ together and it probably all stems from that moment. 

John Doran: Every music obsessive reckons they went to the greatest festival there has been, and for me, the 2003 Autechre-curated ATP weekender occupies this hallowed space. Plus, ATP was the backdrop to me falling in love with my girlfriend, Maria. Prior to becoming a dad, if you ask me when or where I was happiest, my response was always: listening to “Stabbed In the Face” by Wolf Eyes with Maria, getting ready to go and watch LCD Soundsystem, almost levitating with joy. 

Stewart Lee: It’s sort of the high point of my life. I was a teenage John Peel listener, and 25 years down the line I got to put all these people on, some of whom are no longer with us, like Roky Erickson and Mark E Smith. 

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Jennifer Lucy Allan: Seeing Wolf Eyes aged 18 properly changed my life. I didn’t know that music could be so obliterating and joyful. I found it so invigorating – like it was what I was looking for. There was also one Lightning Bolt show that rewired my brain totally. 

REFLECTIONS, LEGACY AND FUTURE

JR Moores: If ATP could be revived without the unfortunate by-product of messing people around, I would be there with black-hoodied bells on.  

Sam Walton: It was sad how it ended. He let down people, but most of those people weren’t the hardcore ATP crowd. I can see how he could've done things better, but I don't feel massively let down. What was more disappointing was that it didn't really move with the times or look for breaking bands to curate. It drew from the same pool of increasingly heritage acts, which meant the line-ups got a little bit predictable. 

John Doran: I don’t think it would be possible to organise such an inspirational event now without serious arts funding or substantial - benign and sleeping - investment, which is a crying shame, as ATP really was the best of times. 

Matthew Benn: There was, quite rightly, a huge amount of anger directed at ATP, but with a few years’ distance, I’ve gone back to looking at them with rose-tinted glasses and thinking about all the incredible bands I got to see that no one else would have ever put on in the UK.

Nichole Benavente: Even though it ended up crashing, it was so important to so many people. It bettered 90 percent of people's lives.

Phil Hebbblewaithe: I would certainly go back to ATP, although I'd probably be kicked out.

Edgar Smith: I got to play with some of my heroes because of ATP, and that’s more important than anything else. ATP gave us the self-belief to get in touch with someone like Mitch Easter, the godfather of powerpop jangle production, and now he's doing our second album. 

Deborah Kee Higgins: We were young and idealistic and had this idea that we could be totally non-corporate, remaining true to the fans, and actually the fans didn’t give a shit – we should have done sponsorship.

Al Sundvall: If they pulled the plug before things got really bad, it wouldn’t have gone down quite as badly, but once the dust settles you look back on good times and what an amazing experience it was and how much I would love to go to one again.

Barry Hogan: We should have stopped in 2010 or 2011 and we would have caused less heartache. We really weren't trying to string people along, we genuinely thought that we could trade out of it and there were points where we nearly did.

Deborah Kee Higgins: Barry might say that, but if I slapped him around the face a few times and showed him all the wonderful things that happened after that he'd change his mind.

Declan Allen: I miss it. If they did one tomorrow I'd go. 

Steve Albini: The experiences I had at ATP were incredible joyous human ones, and I wouldn't trade those for anything. 

Geoff Barrow: I would be first in line to play another ATP. 

Matt Groening: I can't believe how consistently amazingly adventurous those festivals were. There was nothing like that in America. If you want a good history of 21st century adventurous pop music, just look at the line-ups and go listen to those bands.

Stewart Lee: Whatever faults he had, for 20 years Barry created a string of unrepeatable experiences for the serious music fan that would never have been put together by anyone in their right mind. 

Barry Hogan: People ask, “Would you ever bring it back?” I would, but we'd need to take care of some financial obligations. That would be my reason for doing it, to settle with people and say, “Look, we know we let you down, we’re sorry, it was never intentional.” To put a better ending to it all.