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GRACE JONES: MELTDOWN FESTIVAL 2020

Pull Up To The Southbank Centre Baby: Grace Jones is curating Meltdown Festival 2020

Grace Jones Meltdown Festival Andrea Klarin

Photography by Andrea Klarin

Grace Jones Meltdown Festival Andrea Klarin
Photography by Andrea Klarin

Move over Emily Eavis, legendary performer, model, author and cultural icon Grace Jones is curating the line-up for next year’s Meltdown festival in London.

A figure who needs no introduction, even though we just gave one, Jones has been cross-pollinating the highest circles of the art, film and music scenes for several decades now, inspiring creators from all walks of life, from Björk or Thierry Mugler, in the process. Whether it be pioneering the fashion world as one of the first black supermodels, armed with her signature androgynous style in the seventies, or transforming the mainstream musical landscape a decade later with critically-acclaimed albums such as Nightclubbing (1981) and Slave to the Rhythm (1985), it’s no question that festival curation is to be a bucket-list goal where Jones will no doubt excel also.

Southbank’s head of contemporary music, Bengi Ünsal, said of the decision: “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.”

In a statement announcing the takeover, the star divulged, “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?!”

And that much is certainly true, previous curators include the likes of Nile Rodgers, Patti Smith, M.I.A., Robert Smith, Jarvis Cocker and Massive Attack, with Jones even performing under the latter two’s lineups throughout the noughties.

Jones’ headline marks the ten-day festival’s 27th year after it’s inception in 1993. Initially focusing on classical music, Meltdown’s criteria naturally evolved after a few years in action, with Jones’ own Disney duet performance with Nick Cave, Shane MacGowan, Pete Doherty and Jarvis Cocker in 2007 no doubt world’s away from George Benjamin’s London Philharmonic Orchestra production at the very first Meltdown.

As for who Jones will be spotlighting, that is yet to be revealed. We can only hope she drags our beloved Lady Gaga kicking and screaming from her Las Vegas residency, or maybe she’ll enlist help from her Brighton Pride co-headliner Jessie J? In any case, we will just have to wait and see.

Grace Jones’ Meltdown will take place at Southbank Centre, London from 12-21 June 2020.

Words
Bailey Slater
GRACE JONES: MELTDOWN FESTIVAL 2020

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