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Why We're All To Blame For ATP's Latest Collapse
Alex Marshall , April 18th, 2016 16:12

ATP's Barry Hogan is far from omnipotent, and with the inevitable cancelation of its forthcoming festival, Alex Marshall ask exactly who's to blame for this apparently never-ending cycle of pain

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This morning, the most inevitable event in music happened: All Tomorrow's Parties cancelled a festival due to be curated by Drive Like Jehu and meant to start on Friday.



Most people found out from Drive Like Jehu themselves, who said in a Facebook post that the event had felt like a "uniquely cruel hoax". "ATP is out of funds," they added bluntly, which shouldn't have come as a surprise to anyone – including Drive Like Jehu.
 


If you have followed the promoter's fortunes you will know their finances have been a mess for years. But if you haven't, here's a short guide:

Back in 2012, Barry Hogan voluntarily liquidated a firm called ATP Concerts Limited, which had debts of over £2.6m. He blamed those debts on poorly performing festivals in the US headlined by the likes of My Bloody Valentine and the Flaming Lips, as well as one in the UK curated by Matt Groening of The Simpsons fame.

The recession stopped people buying tickets, Hogan was sure. Among those owed money were a piano tuner and the band Portishead (who didn't seem fussed, to be fair). Full disclosure: The Quietus was also a creditor, owed for advertising ATP had bought on the site.

Hogan announced an end to ATP's holiday camp festivals in 2013, having seemingly learned there was no longer a market for them, but ATP still ran into problems that year when it had to cancel the one-day London festival I'll Be Your Mirror, due to be headlined by Grizzly Bear.



In 2014, ATP cancelled the Jabberwocky festival in London with three days notice, a mess that left many fans out of pocket. This cancellation only seemed to catch up with the firm in December 2015 when Companies House forcibly dissolved one of Hogan's firms, ATP Presents Ltd. That company never filed accounts, but it was taken to court for £132,000 by, among others, the ExCeL Centre, which was due to stage the festival. 

Despite the Jabberwocky fiasco, Hogan led ATP's return to holiday camp festivals in 2015. 

Earlier this year, ATP's current main arm, Willwall Ltd, took out a loan with "fast business loans" specialist Ashley Business Cash, essentially Wonga for struggling companies. This is hardly the greatest sign of any organisation's fiscal health.



There is a looming question you have to ask yourself after reading all that: "Why on earth did Hogan keep on running festivals when they had repeatedly failed and he had angered most of the fans who might actually buy tickets to them?" (ATP had a horrendous communications problem, seemingly deciding the best thing to do when an event was in trouble was not to talk about it). 



It seems impossible that Hogan did not realise ATP's 2016 events were failing as he would only have had to look at his own predicament: last year, one of ATP's creditors told me they had sent debt collectors to Hogan's office and house in a desperate bid to try and get their money back. The debt collectors called them up later that day to say there was nothing worth taking.



Hogan's heart has always been in the right place – he wants to bring unusual, inspirational music to people and stage unforgettable parties (most people who went to their Stewart Lee event seem to have had a great time). But he achieved that legacy ten years ago. For most of the past five years all he's done is trampled it into the ground like a band who didn't know when to break up and call it a day.

Hogan seems to have been under the belief that anyone who criticised him was an idiot who didn't understand what he was trying to do, or that they were 'The Man' trying to undermine him and ATP's anti-corporate stance. After The Stool Pigeon's initial investigation into ATP's operations Hogan accused the paper of printing inaccuracies, yet to date has never come forward to explain what they are. The Stool Pigeon's article was thoroughly checked over by lawyers before publication.

The people he has most screwed over couldn't have been further from being 'The Man': They're normal music fans — I spoke to one last night who had forked out about £800 to fly from Toronto to see Drive Like Jehu and now doesn't expect to get that back — and small businesses. The people who have taken ATP to court recently include a taxi firm, a furniture hire company and Islington Council. [Since publication, an Islington councillor has been in touch to say their debt has been paid]

But Hogan alone can't be blamed for this. The wider independent music industry really needs to take a look at itself for not speaking up and for continually defending Hogan when problems occurred. I'm not criticising the bands who played their events – everyone needs a stage and many were owed money did not want to speak out and ruin their chances of getting it back. But the venues who let ATP festivals go ahead without guarantees, all the booking agents, managers and labels who told their acts to play them, all the journalists who wrote gushing pieces about ATP's legend and didn't criticise them, and so prevented the message that they were messed up from getting spread far and wide. All of them need to have a long hard look at themselves.

So too, really, do the punters who kept on buying tickets to ATP's events despite the problems mounting. If you speak to many of them, they sound like sadomasochists: they'd been repeatedly burned by ATP, but they kept coming back either because they had such a good time in the past they were happy to take a risk to do so again, or because their favourite act was announced as a curator — and if they were involved then things would surely turn out alright wouldn't they? Stewart Lee would never let things fail, surely? Drive Like Jehu wouldn't get into bed with inept business people, would they? Steve Albini, that great blaster of rip off merchants, wouldn't continue supporting a company if their business practices were as bad as everyone says, would he?

A couple of weeks ago, when Drive Like Jehu's event was moved from Wales to Manchester, and one fan told me he'd never buy a ticket to an ATP show again. "Unless, you know, they somehow get Spacemen 3 to reform."

That one sentence shows the power of music – to overwhelm you, to make you forget all sense and instead put your faith in blind hope. The desire to get zoning out to Spacemen 3 in a holiday camp is apparently so overwhelming for many people, they'll risk several hundred pounds to do so, even if they know they'll likely hurt bands, contractors and themselves in the process.

I can understand that feeling. I've boycotted ATP's shows since I first wrote about them in 2012 and have felt like an idiot at times because of that, especially given how much I like Thee Oh Sees and how I've had to travel outside London to see them.

But you have to stick to your gut feeling: a bad business is a bad business. Just because they support indie music doesn't change that. Donald Trump would be no better if he suddenly announced his favourite band was Shellac.

I really hope more people start taking that attitude. And if Barry tries to relaunch the festivals again in a year or so as ATP 3.0, I hope people don't support it.

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Satu
Apr 18, 2016 4:34pm

Fine until you made the Donald Trump comparison

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MrLukowski
Apr 18, 2016 4:41pm

'Hogan's heart has always been in the right place' – I'm not sure this is 100% true (as you've pointed out, his attitude towards criticism has been terrible), but I know what you mean and I can't help but think this is essentially the reason he's got as far as he has post-Jabberwocky – there seems to be so little in it for him when he concocts another of his Walter Mitty-style projects that people are kind of dazzled into believing he must somehow have more resources this time around or that SOMETHING has changed. If he just appeared to be attempting to line his pockets he'd have surely been told to GTFO a long time ago.

(On a related, even more boring note, I think a general lack of knowledge of the law regarding limited liability companies probably means some people have placed a degree of faith in the fact he's even still ALLOWED to stage festivals)

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Apr 18, 2016 4:45pm

Just got back from Stewart Lee this morning. Felt kinda macabre to be honest but it was great fun. John cale took a stand by not playing.

There were some very dark rumours floating around and I know of people who were thrown off site apparently for slagging the event online.

Put bluntly though, I wonder, are DLJ a band who can support a festival of thousands of people paying £180 a pop? Are they that big?

I know Barry has said he hated the National's event - but that was the last one to sell out. You need the bigger names, but they probably wouldn't stand for the nonsense

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Barry Hogan
Apr 18, 2016 4:50pm

Yous can all kiss my arse. I OWN the Indie music scene in the UK. Dry your eyes.

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Rob S
Apr 18, 2016 4:54pm

Interesting that, even today, there are members of prominent ATP-associated bands who seem to be refusing to criticize Hogan.

I really do feel for the bands and punters who've been shafted yet again. I seriously considered booking for the Jehu ATP, but the ATP brand is toxic.

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Kemosabe
Apr 18, 2016 4:57pm

What do you mean "we" white man?

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Phil McMullen
Apr 18, 2016 5:05pm

I have to say, I do have a certain sympathy with Barry Hogan (despite myself being still owed Jabberwocky money). I founded the Terrastock festivals two years before even the first Bowlie event so we can justifiably lay claim to being the grandaddy of them all (as indeed Stewart Lee kindly pointed out a few weeks ago) and we quickly realised that the secret is to (a) stage the events in America where people are far more willing to travel to see experimental / outsider music (our second event in San Francisco sold out a thousand tickets in a matter of days; six months later a similar line-up in the University of London which saw Bardo Pond's UK debut, for example, struggled to sell 400 in eight weeks) and (b) above all, do your own catering. It's in catering and beer sales that the money's to be made that will cover costs. Barry needs to find a holiday camp or similar that will give him a fixed price for accommodation and services but which will - vitally - allow ATP to being on site their own army of catering and catering franchises. It ain't going to happen, but that's what experience suggest might work...

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Apr 18, 2016 5:06pm

Spacemen 3. It makes a surprising difference. Spaceman 3 sounds like a novelty instrumental act from the late '50s.

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K
Apr 18, 2016 5:10pm

In reply to :

I heard that the bloke who got kicked off site for slagging off the event online actually poured a carton of orange juice into a vending machine as an act of revenge and that's why he got kicked out. That's just a dick move to the nice guys at Pontins really, pathetic.

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Apr 18, 2016 5:13pm

In reply to K :

I think that was true yeh. Not sure why the whole chalet got thrown out though.

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Andy Black
Apr 18, 2016 5:19pm

ironically, i'd be more likely to put money on a SpacemEn 3 reformation than ever before. not that I'd bank on it to be fair.

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Apr 18, 2016 5:25pm

Barry Hogan is a sensational cellar

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Sundaypapers
Apr 18, 2016 5:27pm

In reply to :

I think you're absolutely right about the line up, and most of the line ups in the last five or six years. They've all been incredibly niche and I've always wondered how they managed to sell enough tickets. Clearly they simply hadn't. Other indie' festivals (EOTR, Green Man etc) seem to have found a way to grow and bring in a broader range of punters without compromising their aesthetic too much. And in such a crowded festival scene, it's not hard to see why ATP and have struggled. It's a great shame, though because I adore the idea.

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Sundaypapers
Apr 18, 2016 5:27pm

In reply to :

I think you're absolutely right about the line up, and most of the line ups in the last five or six years. They've all been incredibly niche and I've always wondered how they managed to sell enough tickets. Clearly they simply hadn't. Other indie' festivals (EOTR, Green Man etc) seem to have found a way to grow and bring in a broader range of punters without compromising their aesthetic too much. And in such a crowded festival scene, it's not hard to see why ATP and have struggled. It's a great shame, though because I adore the idea.

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Apr 18, 2016 5:29pm

So all members of the audience (esentially, people like you, music fans) that defend ATP are ¨sadomasochistic¨ and all the bands who defended ATP, including Shellac, Mogwai, Portishead (esentially people who contribute far more to modern culture than you) are doing because of ¨fear¨. Slighty patronising, isn´t it? And the Trump comparison??? WTF?

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Dan
Apr 18, 2016 5:40pm

How can anyone suggest his heart is the right place?! If that was the case, he wouldn't actively be fucking over artists and ticket holders - because he wouldn't want to fuck anyone over. He very evidently has an inflated ego, and his repeated failures aren't down to bad luck.... it's down to poor business sense and lack of moral compass.

Stop pretending that the reason he's been able to carry on isn't because he has got some well positioned mates in "the biz".

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D
Apr 18, 2016 5:41pm

In reply to :

Throwing the whole chalet out would be the venues decision rather then ATP.

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Dan
Apr 18, 2016 5:49pm

In reply to Dan:

Just look at the shite that Geoff Barrow is posting! "I always thought the SP article seemed just out to destroy ATP by someone trying to make a name." - a business like ATP be exposed and destroyed.... that not happening has allowed further people to be fucked over. "but I'm well happy most independent music is going to be promoted by corporate wankers again." Just wow - so because you have an anti-corporate stance, you back an independent conman with a vastly inflated ego.

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Al
Apr 18, 2016 6:09pm

The Stewart Lee weekend did, in a lot of ways, remind everyone there what's so great about the idea - Giant Sand with Jason Lytle, Charlotte Church covering Neutral Milk Hotel, Sleaford Mods saying how well they'd been treated and being brilliant, all the great comedy, Wagtail the useless Pontins drug dog, a surprise chalet show from Ex-Easter Island Head, etc, etc.

Also, your arguments a bit 'cut off the nose to spite the face' - it's as easy to look at it the other way round - the people boycotting events mean that others get shafted because not enough folks buy tickets for them to go ahead.

Flawed logic, but then so is yours. I mean, if only everyone had the integrity to see their favourite band outside London because they think a particular promoter is a dick, am I right? And no one else in the music industry has a personality disorder, no?

Sadly, Barry suffers from the massive character flaw of hubris, which manifests itself in constant chippiness, overweening arrogance and a belief he can never be wrong (I love this band so 2,800 people will pay several hundred quid to see a festival curated by them - no need for market research or wondering if you should learn from past mistakes WHEN EXACTLY THE SAME EFFING THING HAPPENED).

It has been a slow-motion car crash for years now, after a decade or more of being the best thing in festivals. Over-reach yourself, don't listen to what anyone else says, assume it'll be fine on the basis of no evidence, don't worry if you owe 'the man' money - they're 'the man'!

You don't mention MAMA who bought 49% of ATP a few years back - wonder if that corporate behemoth Barry got in bed with think it's money well spent?

Actually, if anyone from MAMA is reading this - here's an idea. Buy the rights to the other 51% of the ATP brand (shouldn't be more than £10), get rid of Barry and Deborah (or, at least, remove their power - you can keep them around for ceremonial purposes if you like, on minimum wage). Then get someone in who understands supply and demand, levels of musical popularity, cash-flow patterns and so on.

Then relaunch ATP doing what it's good at under the auspices of these capable new people. Detoxify the brand and rebuild relationships that way, with a Barry-free future. And you can have bands like The National without a tw*t in charge who thinks they're not elitist or 'niche' enough for people to enjoy.

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Andrew Culture
Apr 18, 2016 6:44pm

In reply to Al :

I like the idea of the ATP brand re-focussing. With so much toxic feeling towards #NotAgainBarry Hogan perhaps ticket sales for future non-Hogan organised ATP festivals could be boosted by the promise of Mr Hogan being locked into a set of stocks by the penny-push machines for an hour each morning?

In all seriousness a lot of people worked really hard to make the Stewart Lee weekend happen, it's not just Barry Hogan running everything in a Vishnu stylee. I am personally grateful to everyone who had to work this weekend. You all rock.

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spaceman antics
Apr 18, 2016 7:10pm

kil yourself dog kunt

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Mate wood
Apr 18, 2016 7:12pm

oh yes lets just blame the audience shall we? how dare people like alternative music! hawhawhaw

FUCK THE QUIETUS

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Tinymixtapes
Apr 18, 2016 7:14pm

people trust in ATP to provide them with a reliable service b/c theyve been around a fuking long time and theres no excuse. Alex Marshall you dog kunt where do you get off blaming the f**ucking audience for this?? Its fuckin dumb and you knew it.

This isn't journalism, your website is a dipshit waste of time, stop publishing this crud and talk about music instead like yr fucking supposed to, moron

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ANAL GOOP EXPORER
Apr 18, 2016 7:15pm

IAGREEWITHALLOFTHEABOVE

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Phil
Apr 18, 2016 7:22pm

Sponsorship.
Doesn't have to be some horrible 'ATP in association with HSBC' nightmare. Could be a few discreetly publicised and compatible brands. If these events are ever to happen again - and they should, because they're ace - the organisers have to live in the real world. If you can't sell them out, money has to come from somewhere else.

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Loudness
Apr 18, 2016 7:25pm

shite holiday park's are only good for shite holidays...

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Al
Apr 18, 2016 7:26pm

In reply to Al :

Oh, and Suns of the Tundra were brilliant last on Sunday and Stewart Lee came onstage afterwards to say:

"That's the last live band you'll see at this, or any other, ATP."

PS. Nice to see Barry sockpuppeting further down this thread...

PPS. Yes, thanks to everyone who made the Stewart Lee weekend happen.

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Someone outside of london
Apr 18, 2016 7:41pm

It must have been gutting to have had to leave London to see a band.

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NIck
Apr 18, 2016 7:44pm

Does it matter to anyone that many struggling bands and technicians who provide the "show" don't get paid for what is their only livelihood? (not big names to whom it won't make any difference, of course). Serious collateral damages here from this crooked business. Of course you can all carry on partying but the whole thing is sick.

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Whisko
Apr 18, 2016 9:32pm

Gutted about this. But the failings of the ATP festival have in my view always been expected when drawing from a relatively finite fanbase, yet consistently putting on multiple festivals per year. It's either idealistic or greedy (or both). If there were Glastonbury 1 and Glastonbury 2 on consecutive weekends, would both be sold out? Of course not. ATP shouldn't expect to do the same.

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steve gullick
Apr 18, 2016 9:47pm

S M U G !

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D
Apr 18, 2016 10:36pm

This is not journalism this is comment
So here after ten hours traveling from atp is my comment
Lets hear from some acts. Fuck sakes you guys have connections, no? It shouldn't be to hard for you to make some effort and actually interview those involved.

From where I stand, you had bands who would struggle to play to a few hundred playing to many more; you had bands selling out of merch before they'd even arrived. Are they all that pissed off??
Most seem to wander around with a smile on their face.

It seems to me that the choice is to have nothing like this in the world (lets be clear,the lineup is incomparable) or to give it a go and occasionally fail. Do all your records break even? Do we want a world where something like Careless Talk.. never existed because it was economically unviable and giving it a go was too risky?

A website which bases itself on supporting the fringes of alternative music is pissing on someone for trying and not having a perfect hit rate. That smells off to me. Where do your interests lie?

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G.ETHERINGTON
Apr 19, 2016 2:29am

Phil McMullen made some reasonable sounding points/suggestions.

I haven't been to an ATP weekender since the My Bloody Valentine one at minehead in 2009 (which I had the best time at) most of that is to do with the line-ups, I guess because they can't afford massive bands now, the line-ups have often been more niche and I couldn't persuade anyone to go to the couple I liked the look of.

Hard to see how they can turn this around now, a lot of people online seem to really hate them and you wonder who would be willing to work with them, it's a real shame because the festivals were amazing.

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G.ETHERINGTON
Apr 19, 2016 2:38am

Maybe this sounds patronising but perhaps one of their failings is not engaging with the 'youth' enough. Remember laughing about vincent gallo's one (to my shame) in 2005's feeling like a post-grad summer camp (as in - generally mid-twenties youngest) and that was over a decade ago, how many of the people who went are likely to still be 'regular' festival goers?

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Jenny Mothra
Apr 19, 2016 4:42am

Blame yourself shithead; YOU-- Quietus-- are among the enablers of this nonsense. PLENTY of people warned you then and are correct to gloat now, not the disappointment of fans and the travails of bands but for the arrogant disregard ATP friendly simps showed when they should have known better... but "aye," Mogwai got paid (back when) so...

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Robert W
Apr 19, 2016 6:19am

In reply to Barry Hogan:

Hi Barry, sorry about all this grief. Yeah, we had a small problem with the electricity meters in our chalet. Saturday morning was very very cold. I couldn't make any tea either, so, with some difficulty I might add, I made my way across to the venue at about 6:30am to see how or if I could get my money back, as the 5 pounds I paid for one the previous night, wouldn't FUCKING work. Forty FUCKING times I must have tried. A very helpful woman at Pontins helped me out but I didn't understand a word of it so I bought another one.

Also, as I'm here, think on the Saturday, the four of us walked past one of those machines you put 2p's in so you try and win more 2ps, but we ALL mistakenly put in pennies instead. We thought we'd ask Stuart Lee to see if he could help get the pennies out but we never saw him after that. Do we ring Pontins?

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MrLukowski
Apr 19, 2016 6:59am

In reply to D:

With all due respect, it's irrelevant at this stage how many musicians ATP have pissed off (and it's pretty apparent they've pissed off SOME musicians, eg John Cale, Roky Erikson, Micachu, Drive Like Jehu). The fact of the matter is that they've been staging festivals without the finances to do so, and while they may 'mean well' that doesn't alter the fact they've massively shafted over their public at less than a week's notice on multiple occasions.

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Matt H
Apr 19, 2016 8:29am

What a load of old nonsense. As a fan of apparently niche music, I now have to research the financial background of the promoter of every gig I buy tickets for? Find out how much the venue is charging, the band's fee, travel costs, who's getting what cut of the beer, the merch, etc, then look at ticket costs and work out how many punters will make the event viable? Then do some market research to find out if the promoter can hit that number?

Or when a festival is announced containing almost all of the bands that I love (in the case of the DLJ event) I should just not bother because there's a chance it won't happen?

I had my doubts about whether DLJ had sufficient pull to make this viable, but as a fan and supporter of theirs how could I not buy a ticket? Who makes these events possible if not us?

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LORD GIFFNOCK
Apr 19, 2016 8:33am

In reply to :

...instead of a novelty instrumental band from the early 90s ;)

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Barry Hogan
Apr 19, 2016 8:37am

In reply to Robert W:

Nothing is ever my fault buddy.
If you need reimbursed for you electricity fivers and slot machine pennies please please get in touch at feedback@atpfestival.com with the subject line 'Barry Is The Best at Music Promotion' and we will sort this out for you.
I hope to see you all this December when ATP relaunches the 'Nightmare Before, During and After Christmas' with our new home of Center Parcs (eexact venue TBC. I can announce that we will have 3 curators for this festival: Grumpy lad from Portishead, grumpy lad from Mogwai, grumpy lad from Shellac. The first set of acts are:
- Charlotte Church plays 'Voice of An Angel' in full.
- Mogwai soundtrack a live Punch & Judy Show (Punch: living in fear of Crocodiles)
- This Is Not This Is Not This Heat (tribute act)
- An unwell pensioner who we can get away with not paying.

Ticket Price: £200 (non-refundable)

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Stavros P. Leibowitz
Apr 19, 2016 8:44am

In reply to Matt H:

What research? It's ATP, for fuck's sake. After that report in the Stool Pigeon about the state of their finances and the cancellation of Jabberwocky with some people STILL waiting for a refund, it beggars belief how Barry Hogan is allowed to continue. Given his track record it's even more unbelievable that anybody would work with him or pay him money for these events. And I'd still refuse to pay him if Spacemen 3 did reform on the basis of his track record and that you'd probably be able to catch a warm-up show elsewhere. This is the equivalent of having someone shit on your living room carpet and then inviting them back for another go.

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Matt H
Apr 19, 2016 8:58am

In reply to Stavros P. Leibowitz:

I take your point, I knew all about ATP and their history, but your logic means that if I was a Stewart Lee/whatever bands played at his festival obsessive I wouldn't have got a ticket because it might not have happened.
But it did, so I would be left feeling righteously stupid at home, not having a good time and supporting the artists but safe in the knowledge that my research meant that I may have been statistically justified that on the balance of probabilities it might not have gone ahead.

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Daniel Salter
Apr 19, 2016 9:11am

I bought tickets and airfares to Melbourne in 2013 to specifically see The Jesus Lizard. Who were cancelled within weeks of the show. I never trusted the ATP brand after that.

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mhn
Apr 19, 2016 9:49am

It's also no coincidence that ATP's heyday was in the 2000s, when companies could rely on an abundance of cheaply available credit, and young people had more cash to burn on gigs since they enjoyed relatively higher incomes while the cost of living was substantially lower than it is today. As we all know, that changed in the crises of 2008 and 2010, and Hogan's fortune's have somewhat reflected that trend. Indeed, the remaining festivals that seem to make money these days are either family events or one day nostalgia trips. None of this absolves ATP of fault. Borrowing your way out of debt is a precarious plan for a medium sized business. On the one hand, if you wind things up, no one gets paid. On the other, if things go wrong, you're likely to let more people down. After this many failures, perhaps it's time Barry and co. drew a line in the sand.

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Apr 19, 2016 10:00am

In reply to Matt H:

Article above is of course largely on point, but I've got to take issue with the shifting of blame to "sado-masochistic" fans. Not that we're entirely blameless, but our faults are more likely just down to simple ignorance re: ATP's prior disasters and criminal business practices.

My wife and I booked tickets to the DLJ weekend a few months back on a whim, mainly just because we were planning a trip to the countryside that weekend anyway, so hey, for slightly more than we'd pay for accomodation anyway, we get to explore a bit of the North Wales coast by day, hang out in a nice self-catering chalet and check out some great bands through the evening - perfect!

Of course I'd heard some iffy rumours about ATP, I even skim read the Stool Pigeon article when it came out, but I was out of the country when their last fest collapse in 2014, so I missed out on the full extent of the fallout from that I suppose...

(and for many music fans who prefer to remain outside the indie/industry echo chamber of course, it's enitrely possible they might have missed out on this stuff ENTIRELY, if you can believe that, prior to noticing that their fave band are over from the States and rocking up at some holiday camp, etc.)

Even WITH some degree of knowledge of all that, I just assumed that no one could POSSIBLY be so stupid as to announce and sell tickets for a major music festival they have no way of financing; that apparently they couldn't even *book the fucking venue* after collecting everyone's ticket money and taking out a payday loan just defies belief. Absolute worst case scenario.

But you know this, I'll cease ranting. And it was a sunny day when we booked the tickets, so yeah, what the hell, let's go!

Needless to say, we've now been taken to the cleaners for £510, and will most likely be sitting at home avoiding spending any money through our anniversary weekend, and many subsequent weekends.

Probably best treat it as if we were robbed on the street after making a bank withdrawal, and at least Barry whatshisname didn't punch us or pull a knife on us in the process, so that's something. Maybe that gives him one up on the other villains he'll hopefully be sharing living space with following the next few court cases, but then, most of them probably didn't rip off people numbering in the thousands, so let's call it even.

Which is a odd way to end this comment, given that I began by arguing against the "sado-masochistic" accusation. What's my point? I dunno. As Matt H points out above, failing to perform extensive bakcground checks on organisers prior to booking bloody gig tickets is not something punters deserve blame for - yeah, that almost sounds like a point.

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Apr 19, 2016 10:22am

In reply to :

Apologies for unnecessary ranting above, but damn it feels good.

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Barry's Mum
Apr 19, 2016 10:45am

In reply to Barry Hogan:

You tell em Barry.

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Dan
Apr 19, 2016 10:53am

In reply to D:

"It seems to me that the choice is to have nothing like this in the world (lets be clear,the lineup is incomparable) or to give it a go and occasionally fail. Do all your records break even? Do we want a world where something like Careless Talk.. never existed because it was economically unviable and giving it a go was too risky?"

If that involved fucking over the artist and the paying public, plus all sorts of businesses too - no, they shouldn't exist. Just because Barry Hogan likes putting festivals on, doesn't mean he should be able to continue doing that if he's incompetent and isn't actually able to run them on the basis of actually paying the artists or actually even the fucking venue! Christ, where do these itiots come from? And most artists won't speak out, because they will still be hoping (naively as that may be) to get paid.

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HARRRRR
Apr 19, 2016 11:07am

Why did ATP festivals undersell so badly recently? The line-ups, too many festivals too close together, or a lack of trust in ATP amongst potential punters?

I know all 3 factors play a role, but no idea how much influence each of them had.

I guess my question is... Could ATP-esque festivals succeed if done by someone else, and are people likely to try assuming this is the end of ATP?

Nightmare Before Christmas 2.0 in November 2015 was my first and only ATP. I wasn't much aware of ATP's history at the time, but have read a lot about it in the last day or two. Feel very lucky that we weren't screwed over now, but very sad that so many others have been.

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Dan
Apr 19, 2016 11:09am

And you know there is criminal intent, when the guy in charge keeps having to create and disolve limited companies. This goes back years, not just the lack few as some people like to suggest.

Here is a list of companies attached to one Barry John Hogan. http://www.companydirectorcheck.com/barry-john-hogan

Then there's these ones to plain ole Barry Hogan.

http://www.companydirectorcheck.com/barry-hogan-3
http://www.companydirectorcheck.com/barry-hogan-5

He even resigned from his own record company last year! Way dodgy.

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Apr 19, 2016 11:10am

In reply to Dan:

Indeed. The difference here is that copies of 'Careless Talk..' and the hypothetical loss-making record exist. Their creators did not take cash for pre-orders and subscriptions then claim to be unable to produce them.

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Zyppy
Apr 19, 2016 11:11am

Barry Hogan is the Mike Kennedy of music.

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Dan
Apr 19, 2016 11:23am

And it seems both Hogan and his partner Deborah Higgins use a mailbox address as their registered business address. All above board obviously, it wouldn't be to ensure they protect their own assets when stuff goes belly up. At least enables like those cunts out of Portishead and Mogwai like him though.

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Dan
Apr 19, 2016 11:35am

In reply to Dan:

Just to add to that point. The only reason a business wouldn't use a legitimate address as their registered business address is so that when creditors come knocking, there will be nothing to confiscate. They are not able to confiscate property from a business owners personal address. So Hogan has got it all covered - he's well protected. He can continue putting on events that he doesn't have the means to stage, and then dissolve his limited company registered at a mailbox address and start again.

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BloodMusic
Apr 19, 2016 12:26pm

I just got back from the Stuart Lee ATP, despite not being able to see him perform due to his newly discovered fear of large stages it was an unforgettable and weirdly magical expereience.

It's a real shame that the inevitable has happened RE: DLJ.

Regarding your suggestion that we are all to blame, perhaps you are right. It's like a turf accountant constantly giving a line of credit to a gambling addict - From his comparison to horse races and festivals it wouldn't surprise me if he actually has that problem.

Any further rumours about what did and did not happen at this weekends ATP more than appreciated.

P.S That drug dog was high.

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starshaped
Apr 19, 2016 12:54pm

In reply to :

indeed. in this situation, the only person possibly losing money should be the promoter. if the promoter isn't that good, boo fucking hoo - get out of the game. barry hogan and vince power are people that should be persona non-grata and shouldn't be able to get bands or punters to deal with them, yet bizarrely they are able to continue. these are dishonest people yeah? they shouldn't be in business.

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Apr 19, 2016 1:32pm

i called barry a cunt on these message boards once and the comment was deleted

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Apr 19, 2016 1:42pm

...and maybe that was the right thing - but i should add it was in the context of the article it was under - not ad hominem - and i only raise it here because maybe it shows opinions are starting to change or come out in the open nowadays

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Joe Chapman
Apr 19, 2016 2:14pm

In reply to Barry Hogan:

Is 'owning the indie scene' actually something to be proud of now?!

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Joe Chapman
Apr 19, 2016 2:20pm

In reply to :

If Barry Hogan is really the owner of the Indie scene then I'm wondering if I should call the United Nations in to sort out the mess it's in.

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A Hipster
Apr 19, 2016 2:27pm

I bought tickets to the Crocodile Bicycle Clip Lunatic Bungee Jump Orchestra curated event at Pontins, only to find out that Barry had eaten most of Portishead leaving only Geoff Barrow's leg sticking out of his mouth, which he still managed to turn into half of the B side of the last album.

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Joe Chapman
Apr 19, 2016 2:36pm

In reply to Dan:

Resigning from your own company is normal. For people who struggle to keep a business going. Companies House is littered with people setting up companies and then resigning from them. It may be to try to avoid legal action over non filing of accounts etc.

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Dan
Apr 19, 2016 3:50pm

In reply to Joe Chapman:

Right. But it IS dodgy as fuck, and not the actions of an honest individual. An honest upfront business person doesn't register their business and director addresses to a hired mailbox address (is it actually legal to have every postal address attached to a company and its directors not be an actual residence?) and resign from their own business. That is someone who knows they're up to no good. It's funny/ironic (or probably not) that the predominantly lefty muso's who are backing them up are the types who bang on about and re-tweet stuff about politicians on the take etc, particularly Tories.

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mark
Apr 19, 2016 3:50pm

In reply to Joe Chapman:

At some point someone surely has to complain to the Insolvency Service and apply for him to be barred as a director? https://www.gov.uk/complain-about-a-limited-company

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Apr 19, 2016 4:16pm

In reply to mark:

I'd file one of those complaints right now if I didn't suspect Barry is probably already papering his otherwise empty home with similar HMRC correspondence by this point.

In all seriousness though, if refunds and outstanding payments to bands/service providers following these fests are not resolved in prompt and satisfactory fashion (and it seems extremely unlikely that they will be, lets face it), some form of collective legal action seems the logical next step. Anyone have any advice to offer on that?

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Dan
Apr 19, 2016 4:31pm

In reply to :

He's covered his arse - even if taken to court and loses, the courts wouldn't be able to force him to pay up as the business address and both directors addresses are the same hired mailbox address (sounds like a legitimate trustworthy business, right?). They can't confiscate assets from non-business properties or anything. And just because his companies are bankrupt, doesn't mean he is personally.

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Apr 19, 2016 5:13pm

And where are the usual loudmouths like Steve Albini and Stuart Braithwaite now? Oh wait, they got theirs, then, so who gives a fuck now? Aye!

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Mark
Apr 19, 2016 5:42pm

In reply to Dan:

It's less about getting the money back (as you've said - it isn't there). It's more about getting Barry and Deborah barred as company directors, so that they are no longer able to take people's money.

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Alice
Apr 19, 2016 6:24pm

In reply to Dan:

Yes, it is totally legal to have your business associated with some bullshit address. The Guardian actually posted a really interesting long-read about this today, and how dodgy companies can be legally registered without any way of tracking the "real" beneficiaries down - http://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/apr/19/offshore-central-london-curious-case-29-harley-street

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Christopher Owens
Apr 19, 2016 7:00pm

They were featured in Private Eye recently.

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CZKvqhBVIAQQfO8.jpg

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CZKvqhEU8AAnAeW.jpg

Hogan never responded, as far as I'm aware. Geoff Barrow probably thinks it's a smear campaign.

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N
Apr 19, 2016 11:16pm

There are a few things people may not take into account with how a festival like ATP can run into the difficulties it has.
- The biggest income for any festival does not come from ticket sales. It comes from bar sales, as well as alcohol brands buying exclusivity rights to have their product sold out the bar which when you're going into someone else's venue means you don't see a penny of. A good example of this is AEG's British Summer Time in Hyde Park who for the past two years when ticket sales have been abysmal have been able to offer heavily reduced tickets through "Friends and Family discount ticket link leaks" and Charity donation schemes with the knowledge that once people are through the gates they'll be forced to spend £5.80 on a pint of fosters. Latitude as another example has NEVER even broken even on ticket sales alone.

- Sponsorship would not have saved ATP, the majority of event sponsors that pay the big ££ are alcohol brands which would cause a conflict of interest with venues like Pontins and Butlins already existing brewery deals.

-ATP's fees were always incredibly generous for a festival their size, I've been involved with several projects that have played ATP's over the years and while it may have taken a while to get paid it was a whole lot more than other UK independent festivals like Field Day, Green Man or End of the Road.

- As time has gone on prices for everything involved in running events have increased but raising ticket prices in line with that would dramatically discourage ticket sales so margins have become tighter and tighter for an event with no other income bar ticket sales and merch, so to be able to fund a team of people needed to run these sorts of events there obviously needed to be multiple festivals a year.

- Much as the easier ability to be able to travel abroad left British holiday camps to be the antiquated things they are, so has the easier access to foreign festivals affected the UK's market. This coupled with the fact most European festivals are funded up to the eyeballs and can afford to put on ATP like bills without worrying about ticket sales. Tilburg's Incubate Festival lost over €500,000 last September the tab of which was picked up by the Dutch government. The Walkman were paid £50,000 for their 2nd stage slot at Poland's Off Festival a few years back, a ticket for which cost roughly £30 for 4 days of music. Whilst in the UK we have a government who believe art is a frivolity for the few privileged and slashed funding for the arts along with many other things whilst cutting the riches taxes.

The reason many people who have been involved in ATP over the years have remained faithful is not through fear, it's for the appreciation of what they have done for a lot of people over the years and the hope that they would be able to pull it round. I know if I was in a tough situation the empathy of my peers would go a long way, and for those continuously looking to dig the knife in I do hope you never end up in that situation as karma can be a real bitch.

If this is the end of ATP I will very much miss it and think fondly of all the memories I've had over the years, this past weekends festival was proof that ATP is unlike any of it's competitors. And while I remain on the list of creditors the money from which we may never see I still hope to count Barry and Deborah as lifelong friends.

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golly gosh
Apr 19, 2016 11:29pm

In reply to N:

so, you honestly believe governments should help finance something like this? right. the netherlands and poland contribute a lot in regards to music culture... oh right, they don't - at all. don't blame the government ffs.
unlike it's competitors? yeah, i'd imagine putting a guardian readers (a minority in itself) dream lineup in a tacky old butlins holiday campy, where you have to buy a weekend ticket and mostly have to buy accomodation to boot whilst no factoring in paying for any of the entertainment allows them to offer something no one else would. it's a festival aimed at snobs, which died on it's arse a long time ago.

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Afro Zen
Apr 20, 2016 4:30am

Yeah, I was disappointed a few years back when I'll Be Your Mirror in Tokyo (curated by Jim O'Rourke, if I remember rightly) was pulled last minute. Eventually got me money back but it was a bit of a fiasco.

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Free Stav
Apr 20, 2016 8:18am

I am not in agreement that Barry/ATP should be defended partially in this and fully in some comments.
He calls it version 2.0 to let us know things are better. Then he moves the venue to something different, cool, and in a city instead of being stuck at "resort". Line up absolutely legendary bands that have given their life to create something new and help others do the same. But then you don't have the ability to sort out the hotel rooms? You knew this months ago. As far as I can see, the DLJ weekend was nothing more of a way of making up for losses in the other ATPs this year and last. Barry knew he had to pull the plug but he waited until after Stewart Lee so that festival could still go on.
Seriously Barry - let somebody else better do this, find another job, end your ego trip, and stop messing with good people. Either you suck at this or you are just a total douchebag. You might have planned some fun parties Barry, but you could never survive in the real world. So maybe it is good that you are stuck in your little useless universe. Stick to your festival brats and their first world problems.

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Apr 20, 2016 9:14am

The thing that enrages me most here (this morning, anyway) is the final line of ATP's official cancellation statement: "Please note that ATP Iceland exists as a separate company and is unaffected by these changes."

Not only are they acknowledging their dubious finagling with different front companies, they're actually using it to try to reassure people that their next attempt to stage a festival won't be liable to legal/financial repercussions from their last clusterfuck failure to do so.

I don't know if a word yet exists to express the sheer level of shameless, morally bankrupt twattery that this reveals.

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Asunderground
Apr 20, 2016 10:30am

In reply to :

Perhaps 'doing a Hogan'?

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Steve Gullick
Apr 20, 2016 10:53am

It's a big shame for everybody involved in the latest ATP cancellation.
I don't imagine anybody but ATP has the balls to try what they pulled off over the years.
I thank ATP Festival for all they achieved & for the glorious performances they facilitated.

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Apr 20, 2016 11:05am

In reply to :

ATP Iceland is a seperate company as it's in a different country and a co-promotion with an Icelandic promoter

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Apr 20, 2016 11:22am

In reply to :

Oh, well, that's fine then. Nothing wrong with confidence tricksters investing fraudulently obtained capital into seperate business ventures overseas, of course.

Hopefully aforementioned Icelandic co-promoters are reassessing their options as we speak.

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N
Apr 20, 2016 11:51am

In reply to golly gosh:

Well if you're not a fan of Poland or the Netherlands musical legacy lets look at another example of a country that has great arts funding that you think might - Canada - bands like Godspeed, Arcade Fire, Destroyer and countless other bands would never have been able to tour internationally with such large personel numbers without funding, festivals like Pop Montreal, Mutek, NXNE, Sled Island run of funding, labels like Constellation, Arts & Crafts, Secret City, Arbutus survive on this funding as well. You can get money to record with, money to tour with that pays all your expenses, money to make videos with, even so much as in some territories if you're in a band and on unemployment they don't require you to look for a job. All of which is fairly easily accessable and allows for people to make more underground music than it ever would here.

Sweden, Norway, France, Germany, Spain, even Scotland thanks to their devolutionised powers - the list goes on. We're in a very small minority of western countries(along with the USA) where arts funding is close to non existent anymore. Even someone as big as Primavera is part funded as Governments see the larger picture of what the festival and it's attendees coming into the area brings to the surrounding economy.

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catsonholiday
Apr 20, 2016 12:18pm

Thanks for the memories ATP, it was a blast. Farewell, and here's hoping someone picks up the torch and continues putting on corporate-free festivals.

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golly gosh
Apr 20, 2016 4:45pm

In reply to N:

ever thought that there might be a correlation between the two countries who provide the bulk of globally relevant artists (england and the united states) and not receiving government funding? artists and promoters shouldn't receive government funding - although bands in england can actually get funding through prs, that should be left to countries that don't produce art that is relevant outside of their own markets. anyway - this isn't relevant to atp. they didn't have funding cut, they knew they were operating a non-sustainable model and abused the trust of everyone. and it doesn't surprise me that a festival in the barren cultural wasteland of spain has to rely on funding either.

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tristian2
Apr 21, 2016 11:32pm

In reply to golly gosh:

interesting times.. i went to this ATP on the basis of Roky Ericsson and crossed my fingers.. wish i didn't bring my internet with me, but when it happened!

promoters to get this kind of act i guess have to have a messianic complex, think of folk such as Steve Jobs, sadly some visionaries are lucky with the finance, i stress lucky..

still there is no excuse for the missed opportunities in the weekend to make more moolah.. there were people waiting ages for food and bar, get more laid on and more moolah.

as a fan i felt sad for Roky's band and bought a poster for £30 that i will enjoy framed, in my drawing room till i pass. i didn't notice anyone from the Shamen or Primel Skreem there to support the band?!?

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Paulie
Apr 22, 2016 2:22pm

In reply to tristian2:

"promoters to get this kind of act i guess have to have a messianic complex, think of folk such as Steve Jobs, sadly some visionaries are lucky with the finance, i stress lucky.."

Wha?! Are you suggesting you have to be some super special promoter to get Roky Erickson and you're comparing Hogan to Jobs?!! LOL Er no, you have to have the funds to book the artists through their booking agent, the venue and promote. Simple as that. Oh, you also have to have SOME kinds of supply and demand, which Hogan does not. He's managed to hang on for so many more years that he should, because he befrieded the right people early on who are willing to back him up regardless of his dodgy ways. I gather the promoters for the rest of Erickson's Euro tour aren't having quite the same problems.

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Toby
May 10, 2016 10:50pm

In reply to MrLukowski:

Do you remember that at one point ATP were riding very high critically and producing a lot of successful and unique events. That's why people believed in him.

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Toby
May 11, 2016 8:53am

In reply to golly gosh:

Are you saying that the Netherlands and Denmark have no music? Denmark's not the strongest, but Holland? Really?

And by the way, the government saw fit to fund Evian Christ's last tour for some reason.

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Patrick
Dec 30, 2016 3:16pm

Wow. I was interested in the Slint one years and years ago and had frankly forgotten about the whole ATP thing because indie rock is pretty much yesterday's chicken salad. i don;t think Driv Like Jehu would draw 300 folks in my city but Sunn0))) that's a different story.

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