Southbank Centre announces first names for Nile Rodgers’ Meltdown festival09 May 2019 - Press release
Featuring: Nile Rodgers & CHIC, the World Premiere of Eurythmics Songbook, Despacio, Thundercat, Anitta, SOPHIE, Songhoy Blues, Alfa Mist, Durand Jones & The Indications, KOKOROKO, A Night of Studio 54 ft. ‘Jellybean’ Benitez and Kyle Dixon & Michael Stein performing the music of Stranger Things
Today Southbank Centre announces the first confirmed acts for the 26th edition of Meltdown, its annual festival of contemporary music and culture, the longest running artist-curated festival in the world, and Music Week Awards Best Festival 2018 nominee. This year’s festival is curated by Grammy Award-winning producer, composer, guitarist, CHIC co-founder, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee, Chairman and Inductee of the Songwriters Hall of Fame and Abbey Road’s first ever Chief Creative Advisor, Nile Rodgers, and will run from 3 - 11 August.
Rodgers presents a festival full of exclusive collaborations, world-wide one-offs and unmissable opportunities to enjoy some of the world’s best dance music this summer.
The fresh, eclectic lineup offers an unrivalled insight into the mind of one of the architects of today’s musical zeitgeist. Rodgers’ musical roots are celebrated through a new generation of artists: jazz is explored from the LA twang of Thundercat to the innovative south London scene of KOKOROKO and Alfa Mist; the revolutionary sound of Motown gets a 21st century spin from Durand Jones & The Indications; and the peerless disco funk of CHIC leads a dancefloor renaissance, including a modern reimagining of the original nightclub Studio 54 with DJ Jellybean Benitez, visionary pop producer SOPHIE, and the state-of-the-art, vinyl-only Despacio soundsystem - a collaboration between 2manydjs and LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy - which puts 500 dancers at the intimate centre of 50,000 watts of optimised club listening. Befitting an icon of international influence, the festival welcomes artists who are moving new music globally from the Brazilian pop phenomenon Anitta to Mali’s Songhoy Blues. Throughout it all, Rodgers showcases the enduring power of songwriting and composing to move us from drama to the dancefloor.
Nile Rodgers, Curator, said: “It’s an honour for me to step into the shoes of David Bowie, Patti Smith, Ornette Coleman, Robert Smith and so many more to curate nine nights of amazing music for the people of London on its glorious South Bank. This is my home from home and it’s given me so much love and this is my way of giving back. My prime motivation was to present incredible music from all walks of life that would make everybody dance. From CHIC to KOKOROKO and our special Studio 54 night to my boy David A. Stewart and the Eurythmics Songbook, Songhoy Blues, Despacio and the full incredible lineup, we are going to dance, dance, dance from 3 - 11 August.”
Bengi Unsal, Senior Contemporary Music Programmer, Southbank Centre, said: “We are truly honoured to have the legendary Nile Rodgers taking the reigns of Meltdown this year, and thrilled to be able to make his dream a reality here at Southbank Centre. I'm so excited to share his lineup with the world! With new, legendary, diverse, experimental and international talent, it promises something to enjoy - and something to discover for everyone this summer."
Rodgers opens the festival on Saturday 3 August in his own inimitable style: with a massive disco all-nighter. Taking to the Royal Festival Hall stage, Nile Rodgers & CHIC, the musical legend and the incomparable disco hit-makers, perform a special show exclusively for Meltdown. Afterwards, audiences immerse themselves in a legend of disco culture, as Southbank Centre recreates the notorious New York nightclub Studio 54 - “The hippest place on the planet” according to Rodgers - on the banks of the River Thames. For one night only the Queen Elizabeth Hall foyer is transformed into the seminal Manhattan venue complete with state-of-the-art soundsystem, go-go dancers and original Studio 54 DJs, including the legendary producer behind Madonna, Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson and more, ‘Jellybean’ Benitez (3 Aug, QEHF).
As Chairman of the Songwriters Hall of Fame and one of the most important songwriters of the last 40 years, great songs and songwriting are at the heart of Rodgers’ Meltdown. He asked one of his favourite songwriters, producers and artists - David A. Stewart - to put together an all star band and vocalists to perform Eurythmics Songbook - the greatest songs by one of his favourite bands - an international institution - in a worldwide exclusive (9 Aug, RFH).
Further Meltdown 2019 events announced today include:
THUNDERCAT: Funk, R&B and punk all feed the surreal genius of LA-based bassist and singer Stephen Bruner aka Thundercat, who plays the Royal Festival Hall in a 2019 European exclusive (Sunday 4 August, RFH)
KOKOROKO: Hotly-tipped London-based Afrobeat 8-piece, fresh from their eponymous first EP released March 2019, return to Southbank Centre after playing the Clore Ballroom in 2016 (Monday 5 August, QEH)
ANITTA: Brazil’s multi award-winning, record-breaking, biggest ever female pop star, the leading artist of a new generation of Latin American music, plays the Royal Festival Hall in her 2019 UK festival exclusive (Tuesday 6 August, RFH)
DURAND JONES & THE INDICATIONS: Super slick modern Motown, from a band of highly skilled Indiana-based twenty-somethings (Tuesday 6 August, QEH)
KYLE DIXON & MICHAEL STEIN PERFORM THE MUSIC OF STRANGER THINGS: Live performance of the soundtrack to the cult TV hit, by the award-winning composers themselves, accompanied by a supernatural neon light show (Wednesday 7 August, RFH)
ALFA MIST: Leading London-based producer, composer and musician bringing hip-hop jazz vibes to his highly acclaimed strand of neo-soul (Wednesday 7 August, QEH)
DESPACIO: A specially-created 50,000-watt vinyl-only soundsystem designed by James Murphy (LCD Soundsystem, DFA Records) and David and Stephen Dewaele (Soulwax, 2manydjs). Having played just a few select events across the world, the trio will be behind the decks for two nights at Southbank Centre’s Clore Ballroom - a space which has welcomed dancers for more than six decades and has a capacity of just 500 - for an intimate club listening experience like no other (Friday 9 & Saturday 10 August, Clore Ballroom)
SOPHIE: The British born, LA-based singer, songwriter, DJ and producer radically changed the music industry with the release of her progressive, extrasensory pop in 2012. Now a mutable and visionary artist at the top of her craft, she joins the Meltdown line-up with a unique and unmissable live show in the Royal Festival Hall (Saturday 10 August, RFH)
SONGHOY BLUES: Blistering Malian desert rock with tight, attacking riffs, jangling funk guitar, dance-floor brass and moves to kill, Songhoy Blues rock the Royal Festival Hall for the closing night of Meltdown 2019 (Sunday 11 August, RFH)
Many more to be announced!
Southbank Centre’s Meltdown festival is famous for bringing to life the vision of a different musical legend each year as Curator. Nile Rodgers follows in the footsteps of 25 artists selected to share their vision – from the very first curator, British composer George Benjamin in 1993, though other luminaries such as Laurie Anderson, John Peel, David Bowie, Nick Cave, Patti Smith, Massive Attack, Ornette Coleman, Yoko Ono, David Byrne, M.I.A and, in 2018, Robert Smith.