Grace Jones' Meltdown: Solange, Skunk Anansie and Lee Fields to play

Curator of the London festival’s 27th edition announces trailblazers including Oumou Sangaré, Jimmy Cliff and Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, as well as an ‘extraordinary’ show of her own

Grace Jones has announced the first wave of performers for her edition of the annual Meltdown festival, threading her lineage as a radical black woman performer steeped in reggae throughout the lineup.

Solange, Oumou Sangaré and Meshell Ndegeocello are among the trailblazing female artists who will perform at the 27th edition of the festival, held annually at London’s Southbank Centre. Skunk Anansie will celebrate 25 years together, and Peaches will debut an “explosive” show specially crafted for the event.

Jones herself will close the 2020 festival with what is described as “an extraordinary new show unlike any other she has performed before”. Her performance will follow a weekend of shows by reggae stars Jimmy Cliff and Lee “Scratch” Perry, Senegalese icon Baaba Maal, South African choir Ladysmith Black Mambazo and soul star Lee Fields.

Jones said in a statement that she had chosen artists who “represent something unique to me personally and to my career”. Each of them, she said, “has a little bit of me in them, and now I am proud to present them all to you”.

Jones’s Meltdown takes place at London’s Southbank Centre from 12 to 21 June. More performers will be announced in the coming months, including a programme of workshops, “creative celebrations” and the return of the outdoor Riverside stage and its free programme of events.

Jones follows previous Meltdown collaborators including David Bowie, the Cure’s Robert Smith and Nile Rodgers. She is only the sixth woman to curate the festival in its history, following Laurie Anderson, Patti Smith, Anohni, Yoko Ono and MIA.

More information at


Laura Snapes

The GuardianTramp

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