This is my entry for this years ATP intro competition. I was trying to play up to the fact that people also bitch and moan about the line up regardless of who’s playing and who asked them to play. More specifically, I was basing it on the Drowned In Sound message board. people will complain about anything. Unsurprisingly, I didn’t win. Probably because it’s not very good. Had I won, I would have picked Andrew WK who is now playing. So every cloud and all that.
The world of indie music is by nature a fickle one; a world that thrives on elitism, sarcasm, bragging rights and a constant state of one-upmanship. There’s always someone waiting to tell you about some great new band they’ve found, that no one else has heard of, only for them to rubbish them as soon as anyone else catches on or professes to be a fan. New bands are worn like a badge of honour; the obscurer, the better. In this sense ATP is the perfect festival; and it is because of this that ATP should quit.
This year ATP enters its tenth year as a festival. Ten years of booking a festival full of underachieving, pretentious, overwrought indie bands for a fan base of underachieving, pretentious, overwrought indie fans; a fan base who show almost no sign of gratitude and whose sense of entitlement is matched only by their elitism. Every move that ATP makes is welcomed with fresh criticism. People complain about the venue so ATP moves to a different venue but this is criticised for being too big and not intimate enough. People complain about the queues to see some bands so ATP builds a new stage big enough for everyone but people moan that it’s too light or that the sound isn’t good enough. However, the bulk of criticism is reserved for one thing, and one thing only: the lineup. As with any festival, no matter the size, the selling point is the lineup. The better the lineup, the more people are going to enjoy themselves. Of course, with ATP it’s more a case of the better the lineup, the more people are going to complain. The main point of contention is that the same bands get booked every year, which is hardly surprising, considering ATP’s booking policy, and the fact that it’s been running for ten years.
This year sees the second time ATP have let the fans curate the festival. If the first time was an attempt to let the fans have a say and avoid any criticism, it didn’t work. It seems that whilst people moan about watching the same band every year, when they’re faced with a choice of who they want to play, people end up voting for the usual suspects (Shellac again). This year, not only have ATP let the fans vote for who they want to play, but they’re only allowed to vote for bands that haven’t played before. You’d assume that the fans would be happy at the possibility of voting for someone new, but you’d be wrong. When faced with choice, the fans either voted for the overpriced (Kraftwerk), the ridiculous (Fugazi) or just the plain awful (MGMT), or they simply sat back and complained about the entire lineup. If ATP can’t satisfy its punters with new bands and its only other option is to fall back on the same old bands, then maybe it should stop altogether. Then you’d really have something to complain about.