15 Jun 2018 - 24 Jun 2018

Robert Smith is set to curate our 25th Meltdown: the UK’s longest running artist-curated music festival.

Smith is the lead singer and principal songwriter of The Cure, and its only constant member since the group formed in 1978.

One of popular music’s defining bands, The Cure took the ‘alternative rock’ genre mainstream around the world and garnered numerous awards including a Brit Award for Best British Band, an MTV Icon Award, a Q Inspiration Award and NME’s Godlike Genius Award. Smith has also been presented with an Ivor Novello Award for International Achievement.

Announcing the curator of Meltdown 2018

An iconic figure in his own right, Smith’s influence reaches across popular culture, film, art, and fashion.

His many collaborations include performing and recording with artists as varied as David Bowie, Billy Corgan, Blink 182, The Stranglers, Placebo, Crystal Castles, Faithless, Korn and 65daysofstatic.

Meltdown is one of the UK’s most anticipated music events each year, in which an iconic artist curates their own personal festival, revealing their interests and influences. Robert Smith follows in the footsteps of such legendary curators as Patti Smith, Nick Cave, Yoko Ono, Massive Attack, Ornette Coleman and 2017’s M.I.A.

Line-up & tickets

First line-up details to be announced in March. Tickets will go on sale soon after, on a date to be confirmed. Southbank Centre Members get priority booking 48 hours in advance of everyone else. For your best chance to get tickets: 

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I am honoured and excited to be curating the 25th Meltdown. More than 30 of my all-time favourite artists – some of the most exciting, inspirational, intense and influential performers of the last 40 years – will make sure this 10-night extravaganza is the must-see event of the summer!
Robert Smith

Members get priority

For your best chance to secure tickets to this year's biggest names, join now as a Member. 

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Stay updated

First line-up details to be announced in March. To keep up to date with Meltdown announcements, sign-up to our gigs emails.

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The Guerrilla Girls use facts, humour and fake fur to expose discrimination
Emely Neu and Jade French present a panel discussion about their new book

FAQ
Can I buy a festival ticket for all events?

No, each show is individually ticketed.

Is the time on the ticket when the gig actually starts?

Yes, the gig actually starts at the stated time on the ticket. We publish the stage times onto the event page on the day, so check back then for the most up-to-date information.

I have a disability, can I come to Meltdown?

Yes, Southbank Centre is fully accessible – please see here for more information about how we support our patrons’ access needs.

Can I bring my own alcohol?

Audiences are not permitted to bring in their own alcohol into our venues, we have plenty of bars on site that serve a wide variety of drinks.

What's Meltdown's policy on drugs?

As with all festivals, towns and cities across the country, UK laws applies and we have a zero tolerance drugs policy. If you do bring drugs into our venues they will be confiscated and you risk being prosecuted.

I'm under 18. Can I come to Meltdown?

Meltdown is open to everyone, however some of our events are recommended for ages 16+ with any under-18s to be accompanied by an adult. Please check the Need to Know section in the event you're interested in, to see what the age policy is for the event.

Most of the paid shows are seated, does this mean I have to sit through the whole show?

Definitely not. We’ve had Jon Hopkins, Soulwax, Booka Shade, Underworld and Outlook Orchestra (to name a few) play in our venues, and we would never try to stop you dancing – here’s General Levy getting the crowd going in January.

First held in 1993, Meltdown has grown to become one of the uk’s most anticipated annual music events. Each year we welcome an iconic artist to Southbank Centre to curate their own personal festival; showcasing their interests and influences on our stages.

In its early incarnations Meltdown followed a more contemporary classical path, with composers George Benjamin, Louis Andriessen and Magnus Lindberg among the festival’s curators in its formative years. Elvis Costello’s Meltdown in 1995 - the festival’s third edition - had offered a slight departure from this, not least in the inclusion on the bill of Jeff Buckley in what would sadly prove to be his final UK show.

I was amazed when he did Meltdown. I asked him what he wanted to sing and he said he'd like to do one of Mahler's Kindertotenlieder in the original German! Absolutely f***ing fearless. He was convinced he could sing it without rehearsal, just because he liked it.
Elvis Costello on Jeff Buckley

It was in 1998, under the curation of the late John Peel, when the festival took a marked shift in direction; its spotlight moving onto a mix of contemporary and cult indie acts, ranging from Cornershop and Gorkys Zygotic Mynci to Sonic Youth and The Jesus and Mary Chain.

Now firmly established on the music scene Meltdown continued to entice huge names onto its curatorial role of honour, as it slid into the new millennium. Nick Cave, Robert Wyatt and Scott Walker all took the helm, before the tenth anniversary of the festival brought us David Bowie’s Meltdown in 2002.

New York Dolls - Subway Train

The festival has become famed for offering exclusive collaborations and intimate, once-in-a-lifetime musical experiences. In 2004 it was the venue for the New York Dolls reunion gig; the group coming back together for Morrisey’s Meltdown. And in 2007 our Royal Festival Hall stage bore an all-star line up including Nick Cave, Grace Jones and Pete Doherty sign Disney songs with curator Jarvis Cocker.

From Massive Attack to M.I.A., Yoko Ono, to the sadly departed Ornette Coleman, the past decade has seen Meltdown continue to live up to its own high reputation, with legendary and seminal artists delivering programmes packed with incredibly diverse gigs and performances.

M.I.A. backstage at Meltdown

In 2018, Meltdown celebrates its 25th year with another huge name in the curator’s chair - you’d be wise not to miss it.

past meltdown festivals