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Just announced: Grace Jones will curate Meltdown 2020

Written by
Nick Levine

Well, well… this is big. Visionary singer-songwriter, actress and style icon Grace Jones will curate and headline the twenty-seventh iteration of the arts and culture festival which takes place at the Southbank Centre in June. She follows in the illustrious footsteps of, among others, David Bowie, Yoko Ono, Robert Smith, MIA and Nile Rodgers.

I am honoured to be curating next year’s Meltdown festival, Jones said in a statement. 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?!’

We definitely do think. Jones is a genuine original whose incredible live performances, complete with signature hula-hooping, have been slaying festivals including Lovebox, BST Hyde Park and On Blackheath in recent years. She’s also a real wild card, so its impossible to predict what kind of acts she might bring to the South Bank next year. 

Meltdown 2020 will take place June 12-21, giving Jones ten days of gigs and cultural happenings to programme. Shes no stranger to the prestigious annual festival, having performed at Meltdown in 2008 when Massive Attack curated.

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, said Bengi Ünsal, head of contemporary music at Southbank Centre, who invited Jones to curate the festival. 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.’

In the meantime, whet your appetite by listening to Jones’s all-time classic ‘Pull Up to the Bumper’, which isn’t really about parallel parking.

Meltdown takes place at Southbank Centre June 12-21 2020.

For more on Grace’s love of nudism and Rafael Nadal, read our cover interview with her from 2017. 

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