News - Guy Garvey's Meltdown

Guy Garvey

The first names have been revealed for Guy Garvey's Meltdown Festival at the Southbank Centre in June...

Southbank Centre’s Meltdown festival is famed for bringing to life the world of its director. This year Guy Garvey, lead singer of multiaward winning band elbow, will curate Southbank Centre’s Meltdown Festival from 10-19 June 2016.

The festival has been running since 1993 and each year invites a different cultural figure to act as director of the event and pick the performers of their choosing. Previous directors include Elvis Costello, David Bowie, Morrissey, Massive Attack, Jarvis Cocker and Nick Cave. Performers in previous years have included musicians, artists, film-makers and comedians and have included Jeff Buckley, Nina Simone, Ivor Cutler, Radiohead, Grace Jones, Sir Michael Palin, Damon Albarn, Sir Les Paterson, Nancy Sinatra and The Master Musicians of Jajouka.

Meltdown also has a reputation for staging oneoff performances and collaborations by legendary artists. The New York Dolls reunited for Morrissey; Jeff Buckley played his final UK show at Elvis Costello's Meltdown; Nick Cave, Grace Jones and Pete Doherty sang Disney songs with Jarvis Cocker; Patti Smith performed Horses in full for her Meltdown and Ray Davies restaged the TV pop show Ready Steady Go!

As the lead singer and lyricist of elbow for over 21 years, renowned DJ for BBC Radio 6 Music, proud Mancunian and, latterly, solo artist and TV presenter, Guy Garvey has been a driving force in UK culture for over a decade. The corecipient, alongside his 'best mates', of a BRIT Award, the Mercury Music Prize, two Ivor Novellos and a host of other honours, Guy has also been awarded an honorary degree from the University of Manchester for his work in the arts, has co-produced albums for I Am Kloot and is patron of Manchester's Craft and Design Centre.

In 2016, its 23rd year, Meltdown includes a day dedicated to addressing the refugee crisis culminating in a star-studded concert featuring Robert Plant. Over the ten days the festival will welcome artists as diverse as afrobeat legend Femi Kuti, songstress Laura Marling, psychepop pioneer Connan Mockasin and American rock band Lift To Experience, playing their first show in 15 years.

Lift to Experience

Highlights include:

  • An extraordinary one-off concert The Boat We’re In launching Refugee Week at Southbank Centre with appearances from Robert Plant, Guy Garvey, Nick Mulvey, Nadine Shah and Josephine Oniyama , joined onstage by Southbank Sinfonia and choirs (19 June)
  • Josh T.Pearson’s Lift to Experience reunited for a world exclusive, playing their first show in 15 years (10 June)
  • Acclaimed Mancunian indie trio I Am Kloot performing their Mercury Award nominated album Sky at Night in its entirety with a 13 piece orchestral ensemble (13 June)
  • Afrobeat royalty Femi Kuti playing a one-off show at the Royal Festival Hall (11 June)
  • Laura Marling performing an intimate concert drawn from her hugely popular albums Once I Was an Eagle and Short Movie (18 June)
  • Meltdown director Guy Garvey performing material from his critically acclaimed debut solo album Courting the Squall in a unique show featuring special guests (17 June)
  • Acoustic folk rock trio The Staves performing a mixture of new music as well as songs from their album, If I Was in a special oneoff UK show
  • Psychedelic troubadour Connan Mockasin set to surprise and delight in equal measure in a rare London show (15 June)
  • An opportunity for festival goers to display their crooning skills with Big Bandeoke , karaoke with a live backing big band (18 June)
  • Meltdown The River party boats complete with live music, DJ’s and dancing leaving from the Royal Festival Hall (11 June)
  • Folkrock multi-instrumentalist Kate Stables aka This Is the Kit performing with her six piece band in the Southbank Centre’s roof garden (11 June)
  • North West spoken word night Evidently making a London debut featuring a UK Poetry Slam Champion Deanna Rodgers and the multiaward winning spoken word poet Ciaran Hodgers, alongside others from around the UK (14 June)

Leading into Refugee Week, on Sunday 19 June, Meltdown holds Refugees Welcome, an entire day of free activity addressing the current refugee crisis. Musicians, poets and dancers popup across the site, and the marketplace holds activities and craft workshops in a day produced in collaboration with Counterpoints Arts. The activity will culminate in The Boat We’re In, a concert inspired by the Red Cross produced album The Long Road and features Led Zeppelin lead singer Robert Plant, Meltdown Director Guy Garvey, Mercury Prize nominated folk singer Nick Mulvey, Radio 6 Music favourite Nadine Shah, northern soul singer Josephine Oniyama and the Southbank Sinfonia amongst the performers.

Guy Garvey said " My Meltdown is coming together. It feels like an extension of my 6 Music radio programme. I get to put my name to other people’s hard work and talent. Brill. 

I've not overthought it. I've put together a bill I'd love to see and I've made sure there’s something for everyone. All time greats that have never been far from the cutting edge, to brand new talent worthy of more attention and some reunions I never thought I'd see. There’s plenty more still to announce but currently, alongside the music, we’ve got poetry and a ton of interactive events, and there is an overarching theme boats. 

I have a personal obsession with boats as well as seafarers on both sides of my family. The Southbank Centre is on the Thames and there will be boat parties featuring all kinds of performances as part of my plan. It’s the best way to see the capital. I was recently told that the Royal Festival Hall’s interior was modelled on a cruise ship so that neatly fits. 

The theme of boats is also a reminder that being an island nation, every one of us is the direct descendent of a desperate immigrant, probably in a boat. The whole festival will end with a unanimous shout from the world’s musicians to Europe’s leaders, that we are all in the same boat and to deny the people begging our help with hell at their backs, even temporary asylum is a generations shame. “Come and have a look. Of course have a think, but most of all have a lovely time.” 

Tickets will be on sale to members on 16 March at 10am and to general public on 18 March at 10am.

For more information please see:

Images & info - Southbank Centre 
(Guy Garvey image credit - Thomas Butler)

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