Arts Desk

Festival Watch: Umbrella, Troika, All Tomorrow’s Parties

A semi-regular look at music festival news, rumors, and gossip

2009 Umbrella Music Festival: Our pals over at the Chicago Reader noted in their ’09 Fall Arts Guide that the Umbrella Music Festival “is eclipsed only by the Chicago Jazz Festival as the most impressive and adventurous jazz event of the year.” Since those guys seem to know what they’re doing, we’ll take their word for it. This year’s event—which, for the fourth turn of the calendar, “celebrates jazz and improvised music from Chicago and beyond”—extends over four days and includes performances from Matthew Shipp and a quartet that includes Tortoise’s John Herndon. But the clear highlight is a closing-night performance of compositions by Joe McPhee arranged by Ken Vandermark for a nonet which features both players. Tickets for events vary in price, but most (if not all) still seem to be available. The first night’s slate of events is entirely free.

2009 Troika Music Festival:  Down in North Carolina’s Research/College Triangle (that’d be the area defined by the cities of Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill), organizers will present a locally-focused festival on November 5, 6, and 7. They call it Troika Music Festival (it’s cause, you know, three cities…triangle…you get it), and though the honchos say that they like to promote things Durham, they appear happy to include “critically acclaimed acts visiting from elsewhere”—even those from Raleigh and Chapel Hill. This year’s notables include Dead Oceans’ Bowerbirds, Merge RecordsThe Love Language, and Future Islands, which may be so only for the fact that its MySpace page says the band hails from Baltimore. As of this writing, tickets were still available.

All Tomorrow’s Parties: On November 24, the folks over at Warp X will release All Tomorrow’s Parties, a film which is, according to press, “a kaleidoscopic journey into the parallel musical universe of the cult music festival of the same name.” Because the thing was reportedly born of the efforts of “over 200 filmmakers, fans and musicians,” we here at Fesitval Watch believe that this translates roughly to: A confusing mélange of film and video footage chopped together in an attempt to make live musical performances interesting for suckers stuck watching them at home.

In any case, ATP the film features (again, from press) “performances from an eclectic mix artists including: Battles, Sonic Youth, Belle And Sebastian, Patti Smith, Animal Collective, Grinderman,  Iggy and the Stooges, Portishead, Mogwai, Slint, Grizzly Bear, The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Gossip, Daniel Johnston and The Boredoms [!!!].” Basically, it’s a best-of culled from the entire history of the festival. As such, it might be worth your dollars—even if its collage-y nature spells the need for a couple of aspirin (or perhaps, something a bit more illegal).

As for the live event, tickets are sold out for both of the next ATP festivals—December’s “Nightmere Before Xmas, 2009” (curated by the reunited My Bloody Valentine) and “Ten Years of ATP.” For those of you who happen to be headed over to the Butlins Holiday Centre for either of those shows, festival organizers have filled the gap between weekends with a four-day series they’re calling “In Between Days.” Performers include Fuck Buttons, Dirty Three, Mum, Om, Growing, and Deerhoof. As of this writing tickets (at 100 Pounds per person, lodging and “self-catering” included) were still available.

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