Talk of the Town: Meltdown festival, Southbank Centre

Ahhh freak out! Disco legend and Chic co-founder Nile Rodgers has designed a festival at the Southbank Centre, and the line-up will make any music fan want to “dance, dance, dance”.

Lyrical gags aside, the Meltdown festival is the world’s longest-running artist curated festival and it returns for its 26th year at the Southbank Centre for a week, from August 3-11, with a mouth-watering line-up.

Each year the Meltdown festival organisers select a famous musician to create a festival and choose musicians that are close to their own musical roots to perform.

This year’s Meltdown festival boasts performances from some of the most exciting names in the industry across a mixture of genres such as disco, funk, dance and jazz.

As chairman of the Songwriters Hall of Fame and one of the most important songwriters of the past 40 years, great songs and songwriting are at the heart of Rodgers’ Meltdown.

Nile Rodgers 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.

Meltdown Festival 2018, Southbank

“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 August 3-11.”

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 and The Indications.

A state-of-the-art, vinyl-only Despacio sound system – a collaboration between 2manydjs and LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy – will put 500 dancers at the intimate centre of 50,000 watts of optimised club listening.

The festival also 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 dance floor.

Bengi Unsal, senior contemporary music programmer at 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 line-up 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, August 3 in his own inimitable style, with a massive disco all-nighter.

Taking to the Royal Festival Hall stage, Nile Rodgers and CHIC, the musical legend and the incomparable disco hit-makers, perform a special show, exclusively for Meltdown.

Afterwards, audiences can 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.

The rest of the week has a big performance every night and you can find tickets and information at www.southbankcentre.co.uk/whats-on/festivals-series/meltdown

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