Culture

BURO.Bulletin: Grace Jones to Curate Meltdown festival

The queen of cool will follow in the footsteps of Patti Smith, Yoko Ono and Nick Cave as curator of the renowned London music festival

Emma Firth | 08.11.2019

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Before Rihanna, Miley Cyrus, Lady Gaga et al there was Grace Jones. The OG pop provocateur.

The unstoppable queen of cool isn’t one to do things by halves; she has always pushed the limits in her sound(s) and style (famously partying in the nude at Studio 54 in 1970s NYC. Brave). So, it seems a fitting tribute that the Jamaican-born model, singer and cultural icon has been picked to curate Meltdown Festival 2020 at the Southbank Centre, to put together a ten-day playbook defined by her “defiantly unique creative vision.”

“I am honoured to be curating next year’s Meltdown festival,” Jones says 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.” Signing off in the most Grace Jones way ever, she said: “It’s about time I was asked to curate Meltdown darling, don’t you think?!”

Jones joins a rollcall of iconic tastemakers to head up one of the longest-running artist-curated festival in the world; past curators include the likes of David Bowie, Yoko Ono, Patti Smith, Nick Cave, M.I.A and Nile Rogers. And whilst the festival has been going since 1993, Jones is only the sixth woman to curate the festival in its 24-year history.

It’s not clear yet, but it's likely Jones will perform at the showcase. This isn’t the first Meltdown gig for the model and singer. In 2007, she completed an all-star line-up of Nick Cave, Pete Doherty, Shane MacGowan and Jarvis Cocker, singing renditions of Disney songs under Cocker’s curation. Her pick? Trust In Me from The Jungle Book. She then returned the following year, as part of Massive Attack’s line-up.

“There’s no denying it: Grace Jones is unlike anybody else,” says Bengi Ünsal, Head of Contemporary Music at Southbank Centre. “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.”

Roll on June 2020…

Meltdown 2020 festival will take place 12-21 June at the Southbank Centre.

COVER ART BY @inkywinky_art

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