Matt Groening, creator of the animated Fox series "The Simpsons" and "Futurama," will curate the 2003 U.S. edition of the All Tomorrow's Parties (ATP) festival, to be held in June on the University of
Matt Groening, creator of the animated Fox series "The Simpsons" and "Futurama," will curate the 2003 U.S. edition of the All Tomorrow's Parties (ATP) festival, to be held in June on the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) campus. The selection of Groening marks a departure of sorts for the U.K.-bred underground music festival, now in its second year on these shores. The cartoonist/television writer is the first non-musician chosen as the creative force behind any edition of the multi-day, multi-venue festival.
While no artists have been announced, Groening isn't the only change in store for next year's festival. According to UCLA, tickets will only be sold to individual events; in the past, day and weekend passes offered admission to each venue. The shift is most likely a response to complaints that arose after fans were unable to see some of the high-profile acts who performed last March at UCLA, curated by Sonic Youth. Big draws such as Eddie Vedder and Television played opposite relatively unknown artists across campus, leaving hundreds of angry fans in line outside main venues.
At the time, festival creator/promoter Barry Hogan showed indifference. "If anyone bought a ticket just to see one act then you totally didn't understand what ATP was offering and you need your head checked," Hogan wrote on the festival's official Web site. While announcing that "tickets will be sold to individual events only," UCLA hasn't given out any specifics, or offered any hint as to what, if any, packages will be available.
"Everybody I know who went, audience-wise, thought it was incredible," Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore tells Billboard.com "I think there were probably a lot of people who came to see just one act, like Eddie Vedder or Television. Maybe they had to wait in line and had a reason to complain. At the same time, there were two other shows happening concurrently that were just as great. It mollified the celebrity status of it all, which was kind of interesting to see."
Groening, a former rock critic who also pens the "Life in Hell" comic strip, has repeatedly said music is his main passion, and described his tastes as "eccentric." Artists he has championed in interviews lean toward the experimental, such as Pere Ubu, Captain Beefheart, Frank Zappa, Diamanda Galas, the Minutemen, and the Residents. Additionally, "The Simpsons" has been a music-friendly show, featuring a theme orchestrated by former Oingo Boingo member-turned-composer Danny Elfman, and such guests as the Smashing Pumpkins, R.E.M., Willie Nelson, Paul McCartney, the Ramones, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Sonic Youth.
In addition to Sonic Youth, performers at UCLA's inaugural ATP festival included Wilco, Peaches, Sleater-Kinney, Aphex Twin, Stereolab and Cannibal Ox. As previously reported, the next U.K. edition of ATP is slated for the spring and will be curated by experimental electronica duo Autechre. Past curators of that festival have included Chicago-based acts Shellac and Tortoise.