As part of our short series on cult festival ATP, we spoke to festival stalwart, Les Savy Fav’s Tim Harrington about curating the one of the festival’s December editions alongside Battles and Caribou, ATP’s no bullshit attitude and remembering to bring clean underwear…
So you’re curating alongside Battles and Caribou – is there an element of competition there for who can put on the most awesome day?
“Is the heat on for who has the best day? Holy crap yes. The whole situation is getting out of hand actually. Ian Williams [from Battles] dressed up as a homeless guy and threw a coffee cup full of gasoline into my baby's stroller. Luckily my baby wasn't in the stroller. It was full of empty soda cans. My baby was wearing a suit covered in broken glass and spikes hiding above us on a fire escape. Ian got cut up pretty bad when the little fella pounced. The real trick is that you can't try a baby for assault in American courts.”
Who are the people – bands or otherwise – who make each ATP special for you?
“The thing I love about ATP is the relationship between the performers and the audience. It is one of the few festivals that we've been to where it really feels like the barrier between performer and fan is dissolved. There are always so many great performers at the ATP festivals that as a band member I get to be as much a fan as a performer.
"At an ATP festival you find all the bands booked to perform actually watching all the other acts from down in the audience as it should be. Many festivals create experiences where the performers are cordoned off from the fans, even, and attended to via elaborate systems of backstage or VIP areas. ATP calls bullshit on that and encourages a much more down to earth party atmosphere. It is the best."
This is your fourth time at the British ATP and about the seventh time that you’ve worked with them – what keeps bringing you back?
“They keep asking us!”
What was your first impression of ATP and the dilapidated British holiday camp?
“I was like, ‘Wow this place is nicer then most of the dives we get booked at! I wish I'd brought clean underwear!’”
Would you rather end your night dancing in the Crazy Horse, or drawing thecurtains in a hazy chalet and listening to music in the dark? Or skinny dipping/breaking into the jungle gym?
“Definitely dancing late night followed by a lil’ skinny dip at sunrise. Those are two of my favorite things!”
What’s the craziest weekend you’ve ever had at ATP?
“Hmmm... Well the first time we were at ATP with Mars Volta I believe I found a farmer who'd just shot a mess of pheasants. I got him to sell me two and with only aluminum foil, plastic knives, and vegetables available at a gas station I proceeded to make a big dinner feast for about 10 people in our chalet. That's not crazy.
"This one time I got insanely drunk, lost the rest of the Favs, ended up with strangers in an impromptu chillwave jam band as a human beatbox, then came about one pill short of getting it on with a married couple who were really big fans, and finally stumbled upon the rest of my band practicing walking over a beach fire at sunrise about two miles from the festival site. Luckily I was wearing an improvised Star Wars Sand Creature outfit. Oh wait, that wasn't just one time.”
Read Laura's interview with curators Animal Collective here.
Read Laura's interview with founder Barry Hogan on over a decade of ATP here.