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ATP moves Drive Like Jehu event to Manchester

By | Published on Wednesday 16 March 2016


All of you eagerly awaiting confirmation that the upcoming Drive Like Jehu-curated ATP festival will be going ahead at Prestatyn Pontins next month as planned, wait no more. It’s not. But, crucially, it hasn’t been cancelled. I bet you thought it was cancelled, didn’t you? You’re SUCH a pessimist.

The event will now take place at Victoria Warehouse in Manchester. Things you may have already noted: that is not a holiday camp; it is also not in Prestatyn; I mean bloody hell, it’s not even in Wales. The dates are still the same though – 22-24 Apr – so that’s something.

As previously reported, doubt was cast on the future of two upcoming UK ATP festivals – the other one curated by comedian Stewart Lee – when Pontins put chalets at its Prestatyn park on sale on the weekends the music events were due to take place. Initially the holiday company said that the promoter had cancelled the festivals. Then ATP said that they were going ahead and everything was fine. Then, eventually, it emerged that ATP had missed some payment deadlines with Pontins, which is where the problem lay.

Throughout all of this uncertainty, ATP maintained that Pontins would imminently confirm that everything was perfectly fine and both events would happen as planned. And the venue did then confirm that the first Stewart Lee-curated event was definitely on. However, at that point ATP said that “organisational difficulties” meant that there would be a further delay in getting confirmation on the Drive Like Jehu festival.

And then yesterday ATP issued a new statement announcing that the second festival had just undergone a fairly dramatic shift in its staging. Now based in the multi-room Victoria Warehouse, one of the biggest changes will be the lack of on-site accommodation. However, ATP has said that all of those who paid for chalets at Pontins will be provided with a hotel room near to the venue.

A pessimist like you might ask how – if ATP had, as it appears, missed a payment deadline with Pontins – is it now going to find the cash to rent out a load of hotel rooms in Manchester. Though a cynic like me might counter that, given that the bigger draw was definitely the Stewart Lee event, it’s quite possible a modest number of tickets have been sold for the second weekend so far, meaning not so many hotel rooms may actually need to be booked.

Indeed, it’s certainly the case that the event has plenty of spare capacity. As well as full weekend tickets still being on sale, the venue change has also meant that ATP can offer cheaper single day tickets too. Presumably the hope is that, if people can’t be convinced to travel to the event, the space can at least be filled out by locals with a day to spare.

Confirming all of this from his side, Victoria Warehouse owner James Cohen said in a statement: “After a successful four years of running music events at Victoria Warehouse, we are very excited to be working alongside ATP to bring you the venue’s first three day music festival this April. ATP join a list of ever increasing promoters – such as Live Nation, 6 Music, Vevo, Cosmosis and more – who are opting to work within our venue”.

Though presumably none of those companies arrived at the venue under quite the same circumstances. Further taking advantage of the opportunity to provide a sales pitch for his new-ish venue complex, Cohen added: “The beauty of the Victoria Warehouse is the flexibility of the space creating both intimate and expansive areas, which allow us to create an ideal setting for hosting indoor music festivals. The sheer raw industrial feel of the buildings, which have kept many of its original features, mirrors ATP Festival’s ethos of originality and independence. We look to forward to hosting ATP’s debut event at our venue and building a long standing relationship which such an iconic brand”.

Come on James, let’s just make it through this one first. Don’t get over excited.