Robert Plant, Femi Kuti and Laura Marling to play Guy Garvey's Meltdown

Elbow frontman and BBC 6 Music DJ announces the Southbank music festival will also feature Connan Mockasin, Lift to Experience and the Staves, and there will be a theme – boats

Robert Plant, Femi Kuti and Laura Marling are among the first names revealed for Elbow singer Guy Garvey’s Meltdown festival.

The festival, which takes place at the Southbank Centre in London from 10-19 June 2016, will also feature performances from I Am Kloot, Nadine Shah, the Staves, Connan Mockasin, Lift to Experience, This Is the Kit, Nick Mulvey, KOG & the Zongo Brigade and, of course, Garvey himself.

It will be Texan band Lift to Experience’s first show in 15 years, with singer Josh T Pearson concentrating on his solo career, while Plant’s appearance will be part of a one-off concert called The Boat We’re In, which is scheduled to launch Refugee Week, a UK wide programme of arts, cultural and educational events that celebrates the contributions of refugees to the UK.

Robert Plant performing on stage.
Robert Plant will launch Refugee Week at Meltdown. Photograph: Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images

Talking about the lineup, Garvey said: “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.”

Of the nautical theme, he added: “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.”

Garvey is in fine company as a Meltdown director. Previous Meltdowns have been curated by David Bowie, Patti Smith, Ornette Coleman, Yoko Ono and Scott Walker.


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