There’s a clue in the festival’s name, you know; just the slightest suggestion that this ATP, more so than ever before, is about the fans, the men and women that make the festival ‘happen’, three times a year.
Versus The Fans’ format was flexible enough to accommodate a number of acts voted onto the bill by attendees – those buying tickets were given the opportunity to vote for bands they wanted to see play. Among the fans-voted acts playing this weekend are 65daysofstatic, Battles, Wilco, Trans Am, The Thermals and Mogwai.
Ahead of the festivities, DiS caught up with a fan of ATPs past and present, Lucy Johnston, who also just happens to be a rather fabulous photographer – Lucy will be taking pictures for DiS at Versus The Fans, for review content next week. Here’s what she has to say on the concept of Versus The Fans…
What do you make of the concept of Versus The Fans? Do you think it's a brave move on the part of the promoters, to hand some of the control over like this?
Totally. I think it was a very brave move, not to mention innovative. I won't lie, though – when I first heard about it I was sceptical. I didn't think it would work at all… but I'll hold my hands up and admit stupidity. I should have known better, really – if any festival was to pull this off it would have to be ATP... they never fail us EVER in terms of line up or curatorship! Plus, the usual ATP crowd seem a pretty clued-up bunch...
What act did you vote for, and have they made the cut? What acts that missed out - due to other commitments or a lack of funds - would you have liked to see at Versus The Fans?
I would have loved to have seen Oxes. My ultimate would have been Björk though... if she was playing I would have been a very happy person indeed, but she was out (of the picture/running) pretty early on so I didn't waste my vote. Another person I would have liked who was out of the picture early on was PJ Harvey... oh, and Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy. As for the people that got my vote, well I was pretty lucky - I got Mogwai, Bat For Lashes and Why? (Didn't even have to vote for Battles!) A few of the other bands I voted for, like Oxes and Mono, were close to being asked (obviously Oxes were in the final few), but alas it was not meant to be. It would have been amazing to see My Bloody Valentine reformed. To be honest, though, I'm just shocked at the bands picked by ATP themselves: Slint, Youthmovies, Isis, Patti Smith. For fucks sake, you couldn't make it up! They are too kind to us...
What do you make of the new site at Minehead? Is it an improvement on Camber? Any aspects of Camber you miss?
Hmmmm, I'm not totally convinced by the new site but I'm aware that might just be due to my petulant loyalty (does that even make sense?) towards good ol' Camber Sands – it was the first place I experienced ATP so my heart remains there! However, saying that, the chalets are waaaay nicer at Minehead, and the beach is, too... and obviously it’s nice that more people can come (although secretly, if I'm honest, I preferred it when it was all a little smaller with less people... I'm an elitist bastard aren't I?) Obviously the queues last time (in December – they’d reduced significantly in April) were a bastard to say the least, but I understand that that is all in the past and they are allowed some teething problems (which they dealt with pretty well I thought). I'll be interested to see how it all works out this time… it could sway my allegiances. (All that said, at Minehead it’s a fucker running between all the stages when trying to take photos - Camber was way easier!)
Do you expect Versus The Fans to be a very social event, what with a lot of the bands there through the power of the attendees themselves - will there be a lot of likeminded folk mingling, getting wrecked?
Probably. Although, to be honest, I think you get that sense of, dare I say, camaraderie (?!) at ATP anyway. It’s one of the reasons why I like it so much. Usually you're all there because you're a fan of the curator or like a band that’s going to be on the same vibe-tip as the rest (well, sometimes). I suppose it’s a little like Glastonbury in that way - some people just know that ATP is going to be amazing because it’s ATP, so you're all there soaking up the vibe!
Is this sort of interactive event something you'd like to see in the future? Can you imagine any other festivals taking a similar approach?
I can see other festivals considering maybe giving it a go because, let’s face it, it’s a great idea... but then again, like I said earlier, it’s a hard one to pull off and only one that, in my opinion, ATP could do with real style. However, if it means more amazing line-ups like this one, I look forward to being proved wrong...
For more information on Versus The Fans, and future ATP events, click to its website here.