Arts & Culture

Grace Jones to curate Meltdown Festival 2021

12 June 2021
Southbank Centre | TBC
Belvedere Road
London SE1 8XX

Calling all slaves to the rhythm, it’s time to pull up to the bumper baby, as we’re delighted to announce Grace Jones as curator and headliner of the 2021 Meltdown festival.

For ten days, from 12-21 June 2021 the influential singer, songwriter, model and producer will take over Southbank Centre to bring her inimitable style to our programme. Expect unique performances, global names, and special one-off collaborations from artists who inspire, or have been inspired by, the indisputable international icon.

Summer 2021 represents the 27th edition of Meltdown, our unique festival of live music, here on the banks of the River Thames, and Jones follows in some remarkable and diverse curatorial footsteps. From British composer George Benjamin in 1993 to disco funk legend Nile Rodgers last summer, via Yoko Ono and M.I.A in between, 26 world-changing artists have served as Meltdown’s curator, each delivering a festival entwined with their own musical vision.

“Year after year, this 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?!” – Grace Jones.


One of the most recognisable figures in contemporary culture, Grace Jones’ influence has spanned genres and generations. One of the first black supermodels, and a star of New York’s Studio 54-centred disco fever, the 1980s saw Jones’ make her distinct mark on the music scene. Working with superstar producers such as Trevor Horn and Nile Rodgers, Jones released a string of internationally acclaimed and enduring albums including Warm Leatherette (1980), Nightclubbing (1981), and Slave to the Rhythm (1985).

“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. She is one of the few living artists who can truly be described as iconic, with a relentlessly individualistic vision” – BENGI ÜNSAL, HEAD OF CONTEMPORARY MUSIC AT SOUTHBANK CENTRE

This isn’t Jones’ first experience of Meltdown. In 2007, she completed an all-star line-up of Nick Cave, Shane MacGowan, Pete Doherty and Jarvis Cocker to sing Disney songs as part of the latter’s curation; a perfect embodiment of the festival’s reputation for delivering once-in-a-lifetime musical experiences.

Acts will be announced from early 2021.