Yoko Ono has curated a wide selection of performers including Patti Smith, Iggy and the Stooges, and Siouxsie for this year's Southbank Centre's Meltdown Festival, which will run from June 14 - 23. The Festival, which celebrates its 20th anniversary, will kick off with Ono and her band, Yoko Ono Plastic Ono Band, performing at the Royal Festival Hall. The opening night will also feature a film program at the British Film Institute (BFI) curated by Ono and will include rare films that the artist made with her late husband, John Lennon.
The BFI will screen Sergei Eisenstein's iconic film “Battleship Potemkin,” with a soundtrack written by Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe of the Pet Shop Boys. The score debuted in a live performance in Trafalgar Square in 2004 but this is the first time the music and film will be shown together.
Canadian performance artist Peaches will make several appearances during the Festival, including a presentation of Ono’s seminal “Cut Piece” on June 16. “Cut Piece” was first performed by Ono in 1964 at the Sogetsu Art Centre in Tokyo. Members of the audience were encouraged to come on stage and cut Ono’s garments off until she was completely naked.
Ono’s son Sean Lennon will take the stage on June 15 with Japanese duo Cibo Matto who reunited in 2011 after a 10-year hiatus. Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth fame will perform an improvised set on June 19 in the Purcell Room, followed by Kim Gordon the next night at the Queen Elizabeth Hall. Gordon’s Body/Head will feature musician and improviser Ikue Mori and will be supported by Mystical Weapons. On the same night, the legendary Iggy and The Stooges are set to turn the house upside down with their show at the Royal Festival Hall, which will open with Savages, a British all-female punk group.
The Festival will also feature many veteran performers including the iconic Patti Smith, a previous Meltdown director, who will be returning to Southbank with an Evening of Music and Words on June 21, Marianne Faithfull who will play with jazz guitarist Bill Frisell the following night, and a special appearance by Boy George on the 23rd.
To celebrate Ono’s love for dance music, Southbank Centre will present Silent Disco, where a line up of DJs will spin tracks to encourage people do dance outdoors by the river. Ono has nine number one hits on the Billboard dance charts, including “Hell in Paradise,” and “I’m Not Getting Enough.”
In addition to films and music, the Festival will also host political debates and discussions at two events, Activism Weekend (June 15 – 16) and Future Weekend (June 22 – 23). Influential campaigners will discuss issues surrounding international activism and political decision making. Ono has always politically active, speaking out against war and protesting US gun control.
There will be many debuts at the Festival this year as well. New York-based Peruvian hip-hop artist Immortal Technique, whose lyrics focus on global politics and deal with issues around class struggle, poverty, government, and race, will perform for the first time at the Southbank Centre on June 16 at the Royal Festival Hall. There will also be a performance by special guests for the premiere of Double Fantasy, the last music written by Ono and Lennon, released three weeks before he was shot in 1980. This performance will close the Festival on June 23.
“It’s not only a great honor to curate Meltdown in its 20th year, it’s also a lot of fun to be able to invite many of my favorite performers, activists and favorite collaborators to join me,” said Ono.