GRACE JONES will curate Meltdown, the world’s longest-running artist-curated festival, Southbank Centre announced today.
The singer-songwriter and performer will also headline the festival, which will take place between June 12 and 21 2020.
One of the most recognisable figures in contemporary culture with an influence spanning genres and generations, Jones will take over the UK’s largest arts centre with her defiantly unique creative vision and a 10-day playbook of her creation.
Jones said: “I am honoured to be curating next year’s Meltdown festival. Year after year, the festival continues to spread its colourful wings, allowing its curators to bring together an array of diverse talent not seen anywhere else. It’s about time I was asked to curate Meltdown darling, don’t you think?!”
Global names and new talent, artists who inspire and have been inspired by Jones, and special one-off collaborations will all form part of the programme that will take place on the world-class stages of Royal Festival Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall and Purcell Room, and the remainder of Southbank Centre’s 17-acre cultural quarter on the banks of the River Thames.
Bengi Ünsal, Head of contemporary music at Southbank Centre, who invited Jones to curate the festival, said: “Meltdown offers an unparalleled window into the minds of the greatest musical influencers of our age. There’s no denying it: Grace Jones is unlike anybody else. She was the first artist who made me feel that I could express myself, be whatever I wanted to be, and not be afraid of what the world might say. She is one of the few living artists who can truly be described as iconic, with a relentlessly individualistic vision. I am truly honoured that she will share it with us for Meltdown 2020.”
Jones joins a roll-call of world-changing artists to head up the festival, including David Bowie, Yoko Ono, Patti Smith, Nick Cave, Lee Scratch Perry, M.I.A, and Robert Smith, and takes the baton from her former collaborator Nile Rodgers, who delivered the most critically-acclaimed Meltdown to date in 2019.
She returns to Meltdown having previously performed in one of the most legendary examples of the festival’s reputation for staging once-in-a-lifetime musical experiences: in 2007 she completed an all-star line-up of Nick Cave, Shane MacGowan, Pete Doherty and Jarvis Cocker to sing Disney songs under Cocker’s curation. She returned the following year for her own two-hour Royal Festival Hall set at Massive Attack’s Meltdown.