Culture: Music

Full line-up for Yoko Ono’s Meltdown Festival announced

Marianne Faithfull

For 20 years Southbank Centre’s Meltdown Festival has opened up the world of one legendary artist through unmissable events and unique collaborations. In June 2013, audiences get the chance to engage with worldwide cultural icon Yoko Ono, bringing a lifetime of achievement in music, visual arts and activism to the festival site in London, coinciding with her 80th birthday.

This year’s festival includes the long awaited first performance in 5 years by the incredible Siouxsie, electronic musician and performance artist Peaches, musical comedy genius Reggie Watts, an evening of music and words with Patti Smith, Kim Gordon’s Body/Head, a performance by the legendary Iggy and the Stooges with support from Savages, the first performance of the entire Double Fantasy Album, the last album Ono made with John Lennon, inspirational New York Hip Hop artist Immortal Technique, legendary singer Marianne Faithfull with leading Jazz guitarist Bill Frisell and a Silent Disco on the festival terrace.

In curating the festival in its 20th anniversary year, the iconic musician and artist follows in the footsteps of some of music’s biggest names, including David Bowie, Patti Smith, Scott Walker, Jarvis Cocker, Massive Attack and Antony.

Performing from her unique musical catalogue spanning past decades to the present, Yoko Ono opens this year’s Meltdown on 14 June from the Royal Festival Hall with her Yoko Ono Plastic Ono Band. At the same time reflecting her cross-genre dedication to the arts, the opening night will launch an extensive film programme at the BFI, curated by the artist herself, including rare films by Yoko and John. Also at the BFI, Eisenstein’s classic film, Battleship Potemkin, will be screened for the first time with the recorded Pet Shop Boys/Dresdner Sinfoniker soundtrack written by Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe. The soundtrack was originally performed live in Trafalgar Square in 2004; this is the first time the film and soundtrack will be presented in a cinema setting.

Internationally acclaimed performer and provocateur Peaches will take to the stage during the festival in a variety of roles. A corner- stone of her London presence for Meltdown will be her performance of Ono’s seminal  Cut Piece, on 16 June. A ground-breaking statement in performance art, the piece sees the protagonist being cut from their clothes by members of the audience.

Yoko Ono’s strong involvement and inspirational role in international activism and political debate will bring two event-packed weekends to Meltdown. While the opening Activsim Weekend (15-16 June) will attract contributions by some the most influential campaigners of our times, the closing Future Weekend (22-23 June) is set to be an extraordinary opportunity to encounter, evaluate and debate some of the intellectual challenges societies face world-wide in today’s and tomorrow’s political decision making.

Yoko has invited Boy George for a very special appearance at this year’s Meltdown, at the QEH on 23 June and further concerts, talks, events and surprise guests are to be announced soon.

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