The first acts confirmed for London’s Meltdown Festival, which runs June 13 to June 21 at the Southbank Centre, include Yoko Ono Plastic Ono Band, Sean Lennon, Cornelius, Patti Smith, Robert Wyatt, Yo La Tengo, Baaba Maal and Moby. The Roots will open the event at the Royal Festival Hall on June 13.
Jazz musician Ornette Coleman is the artistic director for this 16th annual Meltdown Festival. As director, Coleman acts as curator of the event and chooses the performers.
Coleman is also tipped to join Yoko Ono Plastic Ono Band onstage; he last appeared with Ono at London’s Royal Albert Hall in 1968 to perform “AOS.” Ono is also expected to preview material from her new album, due later this year.
“I am thrilled to be asked to perform at Meltdown and especially excited to play the first ever U.K. show as Yoko Ono Plastic Ono Band,” said Yoko Ono in a statement. “It will also be fantastic to work with Ornette again.”
Coleman is the first jazz artist to take charge of Meltdown; previous curators include David Bowie, Morrissey, Nick Cave, Patti Smith, Jarvis Cocker and Massive Attack
“People may be surprised to see what’s in this box of musical delights that is Ornette Coleman’s Meltdown, but that is only to be expected from an artist who has surprised, shocked and confounded throughout his long career,” said Glenn Max, producer of contemporary culture at Southbank Centre, in a statement.
“While some may want to claim him as a jazz artist, Ornette has spent his life trying to break down such rigid definitions and, 50 years on, we have at least two generations of musicians deeply inspired by him. It is Ornette’s persistence of vision, and his dogged ability to thrive creatively while faced with incomprehension that has made him a legend in the minds of the originators lined up to play this festival, one of the boldest Meltdown line-ups we’ve ever assembled.”
Coleman will also perform two concerts at the Royal Festival Hall, one of which will be based on his 1959 album “The Shape Of Jazz To Come” and the other by his 1961 release “This Is Our Music.”