Is it too early to start looking forward to festival season? Model, singer, songwriter, record producer, actress and all-round goddess, Grace Jones would probably say no, definitely not. Why? Well, Meltdown Festival announced her as their curator for the 2020 edition all the way back in 2019, so, with only two months to go, we’ve truly entered the home stretch in the long wait for this event.
Both 2020 and 2021’s planned events at the Southbank were forced to be postponed due to Covid regulations, with last year’s event narrowly falling before July 19 (“freedom day”). This has meant the excitement has built and built, and now you can view Grace Jones’ lineup in full ahead of the festival, which runs from June 10 – 19.
The Jamaican-American artist was put in in charge of selecting all of the artists on the line-up for Southbank Centre festival, and it’s safe to say the end result will be well worth the wait. View the full programme of events here.
Recent additions to the lineup include Greentea Peng, Dry Cleaning, Eska, Alewya, Josey Rebelle, and cktrl; who join the likes of Skunk Anansie, Sky Ferreira, Shingai, John Grant, and, of course, Grace Jones herself. As well as the individual performances, attendees can expect to see a soundclash between two soundsystems honouring Grace Jones’ Jamaican roots (Island Life Reggae Soundclash, June 12), gospel covers of Grace Jones’ hits (Slay to the Rhythm, June 17), a set from Hot Chip x Kasai Allstars (Hot Congotronics, June 14), and much, much more.
If all that wasn’t enough, there’s also new additions to section of the festival which is entirely FREE. Nightclubbing on the terrace, in collaboration with No Signal, will kick off the festival in style with a host of DJs performing back-to-back to celebrate the impact of Grace Jones on the opening night (June 10). Roll The Bumper will offer a host of set of free workshops and A Night of A Thousand Graces will collaborate with Africa Fashion Week London, to show off dazzling looks along the catwalk, all while the Rock the Runway categories invite the audience to “take to the floor and dazzle the guest judges” (prizes may or may not be involved).
The music, film and fashion icon is one of the most recognised figures of contemporary culture, starting as one of the first black supermodels in the early 1970s, and her bold image made her a muse to artists and designers – ranging from Issey Miyake and Thierry Mugler, all the way to Andy Warhol.
Jones’ back catalogue features a string of acclaimed albums including Warm Leatherette, Nightclubbing and Slave to the Rhythm. Her fearless attitude of individuality and self-expression has had a remarkable influence on so many artists, from Björk to Lady Gaga. Though the star may be into the second decade of receiving her free bus pass, she continues to perform globally, captivating audiences with her superb talent, extravagant outfits and wild performances.
Plus, this isn’t Jones’ first experience with Meltdown. In 2007, she curated an all-star line-up of Nick Cave, Shane MacGowan, Pete Doherty and Jarvis Cocker to sing Disney songs as part of Cocker’s curation, which stood as the perfect embodiment of the festival’s reputation for delivering once-in-a-lifetime musical experiences.
This annual series of London gigs, the longest-running artist-curated music festival in town, reaches its 27th year in 2022. Last time out (yes, all the way back in 2019), disco funk legend Nile Rodgers was in charge, inviting acts such as Thundercat, KOKOROKO and Alfa Mist to take part in the festival.
Grace Jones said: “In the face of adversity, there is no pandemic in the world that will stop me from curating the Meltdown festival. It is my mission to present to you many exciting and gifted artists from various sectors of the music world. Come, see and listen; experience this dazzling plethora of talent at the Southbank Centre.”
Yes Grace, we do, and we can’t wait to witness the beautiful festival you have created for us at Meltdown 2020 2021 2022. Get your tickets to the events at Meltdown Festival here.
Also published on Medium.