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Yoko Ono's Meltdown

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by Sandra Lawson (subscribe)
To paraphrase Dorothy: 'There is no place like London.' I hope I can convince you of that here. Also check out my blog at and my theatre reviews at
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Get Down to the Southbank Centre for Yoko Ono's Meltdown
Yoko Ono's Meltdown
Yoko Ono's Meltdown

Meltdown is a regular summer event that takes place at London's Southbank centre and has done so since 1993. Previous curators for this festival of music, performance, art and film have included Elvis Costello, Laurie Anderson, David Bowie and Ray Davies. This year Yoko Ono will be running the show for the twentieth year. (There was no Meltdown in 2006 as the centre was closed for refurbishment.) I hate to call her an octogenarian, and it's hard to believe that she is now 80, but what an amazing person she is.

Many of Meltdown's events for this summer have already sold out with return tickets only available, but you still might be lucky. If you're too young to know, or even remember, that Yoko was once married to John Lennon, let me remind you that he was one quarter of the world's most successful pop group, and responsible, with Paul McCartney, for composing hundreds of hit songs. As is only fitting for an artist (in more than one sense of the word) who has been around since the 1960s, many of the acts that Yoko has arranged for this year have enjoyed equally long decades of success.

Marianne Faithfull has notched up 50 years in the pop business and will be accompanied by jazz guitarist, Bill Frisell on 22 June.

Yoko Ono's Meltdown Marianne Faithfull
Marianne Faithfull will be Appearing at Yoko Ono's Meltdown

Iggy Pop will again be baring his chest on 20 June when he performs with The Stooges, following on from their appearance at Jarvis Cocker's Meltdown in 2007. Boy George guested at last year's Antony's Meltdown and will be returning this year on 23 June.

Yoko Ono's Meltdown
Boy George will be Appearing at Yoko Ono's Meltdown

Patti Smith curated the event in 2005 and is now one of Yoko's 2013 guests. Look forward to an interesting mix of music and poetry on 21 June.

The guest acts won't all be golden oldies. Pop-violinist Amadeus Leopold, at 25 barely older than Meltdown itself, will be performing on 18 June.

Yoko Ono's Meltdown
Amadeus Leopold will be Appearing at Yoko Ono's Meltdown

Yoko will be her own guest twice. She takes to the stage with the Yoko Ono Plastic Ono Band on 14 June for the festival's opening night. The line-up includes Sean Ono Lennon, her son with John. She will also close Meltdown 2013 with a performance of Double Fantasy, the album she wrote and performed with her late husband just before he was murdered in 1980. We are promised a guest list of some extremely well known musicians and very special vocalists.

If you're kicking yourself for not having already booked for some of the sold-out performances, why not become a member of the Southbank Centre and get priority booking next year?
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Why? To be part of Meltdown, if you can still get a ticket
When: Between 14 and 23 June: full details of events and times are on the website
Where: The Southbank Centre
Cost: Full details are on the website
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