Richard Thompson to curate Meltdown 2010

The folk-rock veteran and musical maverick will act as artistic director for this year's Meltdown festival

Folk guitarist Richard Thompson is to curate this year's Meltdown festival. Following in the footsteps of David Bowie, Patti Smith and Massive Attack, Thompson will act as artistic director for the event, which runs from 11 – 20 June, 2010.

Thompson, 60, is best known as a founding member of Fairport Convention, whose albums in the late 60s pioneered electric folk. He went on to success with albums such as 1974's I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight and 1982's Shoot Out the Lights, recorded with his then-wife and musical partner Linda Thompson.

Thompson said: "I am very excited to be hosting this year's Meltdown at Southbank Centre. The wide-ranging programme reflects many of my interests and influences across many musical, visual and literary styles, and should provide some unique moments, unusual collaborations and juxtapositions. All this in the place where I saw my first concert in 1961 – such an honour!"

A prolific musician, Thompson has recorded more than 400 songs over a long and varied career. He is now regarded as one of the world's greatest guitarists, his solo playing often mistaken for the sound of two or more guitars.

Although no acts have been announced yet, organisers promise that the bill will be diverse. Thompson's tastes are varied, ranging from Django Reinhardt and Jerry Lee Lewis to north African musicians and the avant garde.

More recently, Thompson toured the show 1,000 Years of Popular Music, which featured renditions of songs from the 11th century alongside Elizabethan madrigals, Victorian music hall and Abba.

Last year's Meltdown was curated by Ornette Coleman, who staged concerts by Yoko Ono, Mike Patton and James Blood Ulmer.

The Observer is the official media partner of Meltdown. For more information, visit


Tim Jonze

The GuardianTramp

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