All Tomorrow’s (Best) Parties (Are in Asbury Park, NJ)

by Phoebe Magee

Tomorrow, BUST is making a pilgrimage to Mr. Bruce Springsteen’s hometown–to check out a music and arts festival that’s curated by a great, media-shy British band, and named for a Velvet Underground B-side.  Sweet Jane!  What a weekend!

Starting at around mid-afternoon tomorrow, Asbury Park, birthplace of the Boss, will host three days of music (first and foremost), plus comedy, film, and even some literature.  It’s the “I’ll Be Your Mirror Festival,” put on by London-based festival-makers All Tomorrow’s Parties, and co-“curated” by the infrequently seen “trip-hop” gods Portishead.  The very first All Tomorrow’s Parties festival was held more than a decade ago at an English beach resort called “Pontin’s Holiday Camp.”  It seems fitting, then, that A.T.P’s  American  “I’ll Be Your Mirror” festival will also take place at a somewhat unexpected seashore locale.  

The “I’ll Be Your Mirror” line-up, because they let artists take charge of it, is equally unexpected.  Friday, September 30th brings a rare Jeff Mangum sighting. The Neutral Milk Hotel (!) founder and frontman will play a special, smaller show for three-day festival goers.  This is, of course, a big deal for the many of us who bought In the Aeroplane Over the Sea just in time for the band to break up.  “I’ll Be Your Mirror” has in fact lured more than one hard-to-see artist.  Portishead themselves, who will headline on Saturday, October 1st and Sunday, October 2nd and carefully chose the other bands playing with them on those days, have not made an East Coast appearance since the late 1990’s.

And in addition to Beth Gibbons, Portishead’s contralto powerhouse, “I’ll Be Your Mirror” will bring the ladies to the shore.  Among the women-who-will-be-rocking is Madeline Follin, one half of Cults, who will play their spooky brand of 60’s-girl-group influenced pop (set over speeches by cult leaders!) on Friday.  Anika, the former political journalist turned solo artist (with one name!) was chosen by Portishead to play on Sunday, as was Grace Lee, who will bang her drum and scream really really loud on Saturday, alongside her bandmates in Foot Village, “the loudest acoustic band in the world.”  Party on.

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Founded in 1993, BUST is the inclusive feminist lifestyle trailblazer offering a unique mix of humor, female-focused entertainment, uncensored personal stories, and candid reporting that tells the truth about women’s lives.

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