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This is the last time ATP will host a May event at Butlins in Minehead so a lot of punters were expecting a bit of a beautiful swansong. Sure, it’s not leaving altogether and will be back with two offerings in December but this is the last Springtime UK festival. The reasons behind this remain unclear, though one can only assume it’s more expensive to hire out the cheesetastic holiday park in May. Or perhaps it’s because people are all spent out on Summer festivals to be able to fork out the £175 odd quid for May ATP? Which is quite believable judging by the relative quiet at this here festival. Friday night felt like a Sunday, one of those slow lazy days where you sup ale, meander around and daydreaming about hitting the sack. Thankfully, this didn’t last long. It couldn’t have really, cos Big Boi of Outkast fame brought the party. One of the first draws of the weekend was an ancient Lee Scratch Perry. He had that tragic Chuck Berry quality about him, y’know the kind of tired old has been who shoulda probably died in a blaze of glory years ago thing. But some skinny white indie kids seemed to be enjoying throwing some half-arsed reggae shapes so who am I to judge?!

Sadly, we arrived too late to see Dent May but reports from other folk seemed to suggest we didn’t miss much. The post Big Boi party was led by Terry Riley, who provided the perfect cover for some serious drinking and criminal dancing. If that wasn’t your bag there was no shortage of other stuff to do, including get cleared out in the amusements by some of the most difficult arcade games I’ve ever come across. Though maybe my lack of luck on these had something to do with that ‘serious drinking’ I was just talking about. Mmmm? The night, in true ATP fashion, ended with a series of obligatory chalet parties – watching the deliberately trippy ATP TV, also curated by Animal Collective, and trying desperately not to pass out before the morning comes.

Saturday was surprisingly sprightly and you could feel the buzz around Animal Collective, who were playing later that night. A quick sojourn into the Crazy Horse bar for a small dose of comedy revealed the rumour that movie legend Bill Murray (of Ghostbusters fame) was in the house but despite staring intently at every tubby, slightly balding old man in Butlins, I never saw him with my own eyes so I’m still dubious. I did see Lord Longleat in Burger King a few times though. or so I thought. Turns out it was Terry Riley whose Friday night set proved one of the highlights of the weekend. The afternoon began with a wonderfully witty selection of songs from the nutty duo The Brothers Unconnected, with sniffs of the Divine Comedy, Spinal Tap, The Zombies and Little and Large these guys undoubtedly divided the audience though I thought they were brilliant.

If you were more about the cutting-edge experimental music then Eric Copeland was your man. A solo force to be reckoned with, he held the crowd of Reds in his hands as he left behind his Black Dice roots and played a compelling soundscape of solo songs. It’s quite in fashion for bands to perform specific albums at the moment and ATP ain’t immune from what’s in fashion (hell, there were a lot of trendy London folk at this little Westcountry party). Meat Puppets performed Up On The Sun and The Frogs played It’s Only Right And Natural. Stood watching The Frogs, I really wanted to head upstairs and catch a bit of Beach House but I just couldn’t drag myself away from their uber-colourful set of completely crazy songs. They looked like some tribute act to the late 80s NYC underground rave scene. like Macauley Culkin’s crew in the film Party Monster, but their music wasn’t that bad. Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti played on Saturday too but their set was distinctly meh.

Without a doubt, the highlight of the weekend came in the form of LA trio The Entrance Band. Their reputation proceeded them for this gig with tales of the PJ Harvey-esque female bassist Paz scaling the roof of the Pavilion, a big no no in the plastic world of Butlins, Minehead. Their set of psychadelic stoner rock pulled in a sizeable crowd and once you heard just half a song it was hard not to get addicted to the old skool rock’n’roll, something lacking from the rest of this ATP line up. Their solid drumming, indulgent riffs and energetic vocals welded together in an overarching arty way which mirrored some of those old 70s greats – think Captain Beefheart. Hell, they even covered a Love song – and while it wasn’t as good as the original, it was a rare and welcome treat. And that is where my ATP ended, like I’d reached my nirvana and had to leave (or I was knackered after two all nighters, you decide). Later that night, those still standing were treated to sets from Atlas Sound, Gang Gang Dance and Animal Collective round two.

Words and photo: Laura Williams