James Lavelle's Meltdown

Musical and artistic innovator James Lavelle curate the 21st Meltdown in 2014, following in the footsteps of some of music’s biggest names, including David Bowie, Yoko Ono, Patti Smith and Jarvis Cocker.

Combining creative entrepreneurship with a radical artistic approach, James’ genre-defying portfolio spans music, art, fashion, design and film, and as part of his groundbreaking work with UNKLE, boasts acclaimed musical collaborations with the likes of Queens of the Stone Age, Nick Cave and Thom Yorke.

Collaboration, innovation and a spirit of non-conformism are central to his approach. James worked with young people to curate the programme, meaning that this very special Meltdown in line with his commitment to mobilising the next generation to become the inventors of their own culture.

Mo’Wax inspires a new generation

Both Meltdown and James Lavelle’s iconic label Mo’Wax turned 21 in 2014,  and as part of the festival, Mo’Wax21: Urban Archaeology, an interactive exhibition devised with Southbank Centre as part of the festival, celebrated the creative output of the label James launched as a teenager.

Doug Foster's installation No Beginning, No End in the Clore Ballroom, featured five cyclical artworks and UNKLE's The Heretics' Gate soundtrack. 

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See footage from the cellist’s appearance at Meltdown as she explains her distinctive sound
Luis Vasquez shares a selection of tracks inspired by Meltdown in this Spotify playlist
Discover the books on the shortlist and what drove the judges to select them
Listen to this Spotify playlist put together by founder member John Helps
Discover works from this groundbreaking National Poetry Library exhibition
Enjoy some of the sights, sounds and superlatives from the first few days of the festival.
Hear from YONAKA lead singer Theresa Jarvis in this video recorded at Robert Smith's Meltdown
Pulitzer Prize-winning critic and author Margo Jefferson on one of the great and controversial icons of the 20th century
Listen to the first episode of our new podcast series as we look back at past Man Booker Prize winners
Watch Stephanie Rosenthal, exhibition curator, introduce Hayward Gallery’s amazing exhibition of Lee Bul’s work
Three anti-apartheid activists, Chitra Karve, Lela Kogbara and Brian Filling recount the time they met Nelson Mandela
Watch the conductor introduce the Philharmonia’s 2018/19 season in this short video.
Discover what some of the artists of Robert Smith’s Meltdown are listening too.
Watch a preview for Scottee’s dance show about flab, double-chins and getting your kit off
Artists from Robert Smith’s Meltdown tell us what they’re looking forward to at the festival.
Find out who the artists of 2018’s Meltdown would put on their festival bill
Enjoy this atmospheric twelve track Spotify playlist from the hypnotic, electronic Italian band
Love, murder and a platoon of ghostly knights – get to know Schoenberg’s Gurrelieder in one minute
Learn about how women are being supported in jazz, classical, DJing and more
Watch Deftones’ Chino Moreno get a first look at Royal Festival Hall

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Meltdown stories

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American garage punk band Radkey performing at James Lavelle's Meltdown, Southbank Centre 2014
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The Guerrilla Girls use facts, humour and fake fur to expose discrimination