Grace Jones’ Meltdown festival to move to 2021

  • Meltdown will not take place in 2020 following Government advice
  • Grace Jones remains as curator of the 2021 festival, taking place from Friday 11 June – Sunday 20 June 2021
  • The entire announced line-up will play including Grace Jones, Solange, Peaches, Jimmy Cliff, The Love Unlimited Synth Orchestra, Skunk Anansie, Baaba Maal, Lee Scratch Perry with Adrian Sherwood, Oumou Sangaré, Meshell Ndegeocello, Lee Fields and the Expressions, Ladysmith Black Mambazo and more to be announced, including many on the free Riverside Stage
  • Grace Jones says: “Stay safe, stay home and see you next year”

Grace Jones’ Meltdown is to move to 2021, with the iconic curator in place and every one of the announced acts confirmed for next year. This follows the Southbank Centre’s closure of all of its venues until 30 June following the latest Government advice relating to coronavirus and social distancing.

Southbank Centre will be in touch with all ticket holders in early May with information on how tickets can be transferred to the new dates. All ticket holders for other planned events this Spring will receive information of rescheduled dates, credit vouchers, donations and refunds.

Grace Jones said:

“Regretfully my Meltdown festival this year must be rescheduled to June 2021 due to the coronavirus.  I am gravely disappointed, but also delighted to be working with the amazing Southbank Centre team who have been able to successfully move the festival dates, along with all of our incredible line-up. Stay safe, stay home and see you next year!

Bengi Unsal, Head of Contemporary Music, the Southbank Centre, said:

“We are pleased to announce that Grace Jones’ vision for Meltdown will still be realised, albeit in June 2021. We’d like to give the biggest thanks to Grace Jones, all the artists on the line-up and their hard working teams, without whom this would not have been possible. The safety of our staff, artists and visitors is our top priority at this time and although we are disappointed Meltdown won’t go ahead this year, we feel this is the best course of action for such a big festival. We look forward to Grace Jones’ Meltdown in 2021 which we are sure will be one to remember!”

Gillian Moore CBE, Director of Music, the Southbank Centre, comments:

“This is a challenging time for the artists we work with, for our staff and for the millions of audience members who enjoy what we do. It’s for this reason that we are excited to announce that this special event, a highlight of the Southbank Centre’s Contemporary Music programme, can still go ahead in 2021.  In these uncertain times, one thing we can be sure of is that we are going to need music and the arts more than ever.”  

Meltdown has an unparalleled reputation among artists and is famed for providing a stage for exclusive collaborations and intimate, once-in-a-lifetime musical experiences. It is the crown in the Southbank Centre’s year-round programme of gigs and contemporary music which emcompasses world-class venues including the Royal Festival Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall and Purcell Room, and opportunities to showcase boundary-pushing, underground artists through its celebrated futuretense and Concrete Lates series.

Grace Jones joins a roll-call of world-changing artists to head up the festival, including David Bowie, Yoko Ono, Patti Smith, Nick Cave, Lee Scratch Perry, M.I.A., and Robert Smith, and takes the baton from her former collaborator Nile Rodgers, who delivered the most critically acclaimed Meltdown to date in 2019. 

Many more contemporary music concerts in the Southbank Centre programme have also been rescheduled including Warm Digits (17 Sep 2020), Concrete Lates: Weval (2 Oct 2020), Mew (2 Oct 2020), Daedelus (17 Oct 2020), Belle Chen (19 Oct 2020), Purcell Sessions: Keaton Henson (5-6 Nov 2020), Gigi Masin (28 Nov 2020), Ben Watt (28 Nov 2020), Ulrich Schnauss (29 Nov 2020), Collocutor (8 Dec 2020), David Rodigan & The Outlook Orchestra (9 Dec 2020), Tindersticks (19 Feb 2021), Goldfrapp (2 and 3 Apr 2021) and Ravi Shankar Centenary (8 Apr 2021).

The Southbank Centre also announces a range of digital events, including a celebration of sitar maestro Ravi Shankar on Tuesday 7 April – the centenary of his birth, Beyond Beethoven Nine on Saturday 18 April a one-day digital event to mark Beethoven 250 celebrations, fronted by conductor Marin Alsop and the continuing roll out of hidden gems and classic moments from it’s archives in the weekly Culture Fix email. Further information about the Southbank Centre’s digital offer and the rescheduling and cancellations of other events can be found on its website.



Friday 11 June 2021, 7.30pm, Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall

Grammy Award-winning singer/songwriter and visual artist Solange Knowles performs as part of Grace Jones’ Meltdown



Saturday 12 June 2021, 7.30pm, Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, For Ages 16+

The legendary feminist pop icon Peaches makes a return to the Royal Festival Hall with an explosive show specially crafted for Grace Jones’ Meltdown. An iconic feminist musician, producer, director, and performance artist, Peaches has spent more than two decades pushing boundaries and breaking barriers, dramatically altering the landscape of popular culture as she forged a bold, sexually progressive path that’s opened the doors for countless others to follow. Through music, art, film, theatre, television, and books, she has upended stereotypes and embraced taboos, challenging social norms and patriarchal power structures while championing LGBTQ rights and issues of gender and sexual identity with biting wit and fearless originality.



Friday 11 June 2021, 7.30pm, Southbank Centre’s Queen Elizabeth Hall

Regarded with awe throughout the music world, Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry holds status as one of the most enduring and original reggae producers and artists of all time whose immeasurable influence lives on in the enduring sounds of Bob Marley & the Wailers who Perry produced, his own solo albums of the 1970s and 1980s and in today’s evolution of dub and dubstep. The octogenarian returns to the Southbank Centre after curating Meltdown in 2003.



Sunday 13 June 2021, 7.30pm, Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall

Jimmy Cliff remains one of the greatest reggae artists of all time, having penned immortal anthems including ‘I Can See Clearly Now’, ‘You Can Get It If You Really Want’ and ‘The Harder They Come’ and collaborated with some of the world’s most recognised artists, including the Rolling Stones, Elvis Costello, Annie Lennox and Paul Simon. The Grammy-winning multi-instrumentalist, singer, actor and humanitarian joins us for a concert as part of Grace Jones’ Meltdown.



Wednesday 16 June 2021, 7.30pm, Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, BSL interpreted

Fresh from their bring-the-house-down premiere at Glastonbury Festival 2019, The Love Unlimited Synth Orchestra comes to Grace Jones’ Meltdown, joined by a stellar line-up of special guests, presenting their own take on Barry White’s iconic bass and reinstating his overlooked genius as a composer. Conducted by Charles Hazlewood, performed by Paraorchestra – the world’s first integrated ensemble of professional disabled and non-disabled musicians – and with arrangements by award-winning composer, Charlotte Harding.



Wednesday 16 June 2021, 7.30pm, Southbank Centre’s Queen Elizabeth Hall

Oumou Sangaré’s sound draws upon Malian tradition and her rich musical heritage while simultaneously looking to the future. Sangaré has become an emblem for African womanhood and a striking role model, campaigning fearlessly to improve the position of women in Mali. The power of her voice and the potency of her message will no doubt be heard as she brings her music to Meltdown.



Thursday 17 June 2021, 7.30pm, Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall

Skunk Anansie’s cultural impact, politicism and musical and aesthetic radicalism propelled them from the backrooms of 1990s London, to huge success on the global scene, and a long-lived importance within contemporary culture. Their performance at Meltdown crowns an incredible 25th anniversary, marked with their most recent release: [email protected] – a staggering back catalogue of the 25 greatest songs from the six studio albums they’ve made – which will be performed in the sumptuous acoustics of the Royal Festival Hall.



Thursday 17 June 2021, 7.30pm, Southbank Centre’s Queen Elizabeth Hall

Encompassing soul, spoken word, R&B, jazz, hip-hop, rock, all bound by a lyrical, spiritual search for love, justice, respect, resolution, and happiness, Meshell Ndegeocello defies the expectations imposed upon her. A bass player above all else, Ndegeocello brings her warm, fat, melodic groove to everything she does. Grace Jones’ Meltdown will be no exception. 



Saturday 19 June 2021, 7.30pm, Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall

Since Sengalese superstar Baaba Maal found mainstream fame in the 1980s with his unique blend of traditional African rhythms and modern Western musical styles, he has released a series of acclaimed solo albums, toured the world numerous times, performed for President Obama, co-founded Africa Utopia festival at the Southbank Centre and his own annual Blues du Fleuve festival in northern Senegal, and most recently collaborated and performed on the multi award-winning soundtrack of the global hit movie Black Panther. He returns to the Royal Festival Hall for Grace Jones.



Saturday 19 June 2021, 7.30pm, Southbank Centre’s Queen Elizabeth Hall

Living legend Lee Fields has worked with everyone from B.B.King to Bobby Womack. Now in his late sixties he stands at the forefront of the soul revival, ushering in the most fruitful period of his career with his latest album It Rains Love receiving widespread acclaim. He joins Grace Jones’ line-up in the Queen Elizabeth Hall with his band The Expressions.



Sunday 20 June 2021, 3pm, 7.30pm, Southbank Centre’s Queen Elizabeth Hall, Under 14 to be accompanied by an adult

Enduringly popular, multi-award winning South African choral supergroup, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, became known internationally after singing with Paul Simon on his 1986 album Graceland. They return to the Queen Elizabeth Hall for two very special shows.



Sunday 20 June 2021, 7.30pm, Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall

Famed for captivating audiences across the globe with her musicianship, extravagant outfits and wild performances, Miss Grace Jones is never one to disappoint a crowd. Closing her Meltdown in the stunning setting and world-class acoustics of the Royal Festival Hall, she promises a very special live show unlike any other. More to be revealed.


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