The “90s Festival Generator,” courtesy of MONKEON and some middle aged nostalgia

Need a live music fix … or better yet, a festival fix. Well, look no further.

I just ran across the “90s Festival Generator.” It’s a clever website that, with a click of a button, randomly curates a diverse selection of bands, crafting a custom line up for a two stage (one for mobile devices), single day fest. The only criteria is that each artist has performed at least one U.K. festival during the 1990s.

But wait, there’s more. This isn’t just a fantasy line up poster designed for a Twitter post or Facebook feed. Each artist on the bill features a link to some form of archived footage from the era (i.e. whatever’s been uploaded to YouTube). Many of these performances are actual festival appearances, but others are one-off shows. As such, the quality varies from legit commissioned filming to halfway decent handheld bootlegs. After all, digital cameras and smartphones weren’t exactly around back then.

The “90s Festival Generator” comes for the U.K. website MONKEON, who, from what I can tell, specializes in quirky and playful web-based apps, just like this one.

I’ve already joyfully wasted a few hours of my morning clicking through all types of line ups, having watched vintage performances from Siouxsie and the Banshees, Radiohead, Catherine Wheel, Saint Etienne, Daft Punk, The Hair and Skin Trading Company, William Orbit, and a bunch of others.

I know it’s not quite the same as actually immersing yourself in a crowd of thousands. I don’t think we’ll be seeing that for at least another year, if we’re lucky. And it’ll sure be interesting to see how many of the currently postponed festivals actually do take place next summer/fall. But it does fill the live music gap with a fun and familiar structure, provoking spontaneous clicks on a whole bunch of bands, both known and yet-to-be experienced.

I’ll also say that despite the overall suckage that spews forth on a daily basis from Covid-19, and everything that it’s cancelled and/or killed, such innovations like the “90s Festival Generator” are exactly the type of creative coping that we all need right now. It’s obviously not going to cure the virus, nor diminish it’s unprecedented impact. But it might provide some much needed mental escape and entertainment.

While we’re on the subject, wouldn’t it be nice to have a stateside version – Coachella, Bonnaroo, the late FYF, Desert Daze, Lollapalooza, etc.? It would probably have to be broader than the ’90s. Just an idea …