In the last week ATP – every indie geek’s favourite Butlins-based music festival – announced two seminal 90s acts as the curators of its UK events next May. The first, as you’re probably already aware, are recently reunited lo-fi uberdudes Pavement. The second is Matt Groening.
He is, of course, not a musician but a cartoonist, the creator of The Simpsons and Futurama. It’s safe to say that he probably isn’t going to inflict his noise-rock side project upon audiences, which leaves his ATP in the slightly weird position of having only one name attached to it, that being a non musician’s.
With an early bird offer on tickets likely to expire before any bands are announced, would you go to a music festival purely based on the name Matt Groening? Sure you would, provided you’re not hoping for anything too out there, and here are some reasons why.
1. He’s got previous form
The ex-music journalist is actually the first person to be asked to curate a full ATP twice (though My Bloody Valentine have done one and a bit). Groening previously took the reins for the 2003 LA incarnation, where he selected a sturdy alt-rock spread ranging from Iggy & The Stooges and The Magic Band, to Built to Spill and Cat Power. You can pretty much take it as a given that his picks will consist of top-drawer US indie from the last few decades – unlikely to be the festival’s most unusual line-up, or one for the dance/doom/hip hop fans, but definitely a solid crowd-pleaser.
2. He’s doing it for the right reasons
In the time it’s taken you to read this sentence, Matt Groening has made enough money to buy out the entire Butlins chain and have them replaced by Krustylands. Which wouldn’t be such a bad idea, but the point is he’s obviously doing this for the love, not the money and he’ll want this to be good.
3. You’ll probably get to meet Matt frickin’ Groening
Yeah, Matt Groening is the man responsible for two of greatest TV shows of all time. And he’ll be at the festival. Wandering around. He’ll probably give some sort of talk. You can meet him. Maybe get him to sign something. Maybe have him back to your chalet. Maybe just stare at him in awe. Maybe just shout Simpsons quotes at him until he tells you to go away. That’ll be fun.
4. It’s good he has something outside The Simpsons
Though it’s improved a bit recently, The Simpsons was definitely at its peak in the 90s; not saying Groening shouldn’t carry on making them, but y’know, it’s nice he has other hobbies too.
5. It kind of doesn’t matter
John Peel once commented of the Fall that they were “always different, always the same”, and that’s certainly the case with ATP. Sure, there are curators who’ve chosen some pretty mindboggling stuff, but the default setting is leftfield US indie of the sort Groening is likely to pick, and the fact is that for all the festival’s hipster overtones, a lot people like it simply because it’s a piss up at Butlins. There’s a waterpark and everything.
6. This, basically