Christine and the Queens Southbank’s Meltdown Festival line-up announced, including Warpaint and Sigur Rós

Django Django (Handout Meltdown Festival)
Django Django (Handout Meltdown Festival)

The first acts of this year’s Meltdown music festival at the Southbank Centre have been revealed with art rock group Django Django, Warpaint, Sigur Rós and Bat For Lashes all included in the lineup.

The 2023 edition of the festival, which is being programmed by Christine and the Queens, is the world’s longest-running artist curated festival. Its events take place across the Southbank Centre’s buildings, including in the Royal Festival Hall and the Queen Elizabeth Hall.

Django Django will open the programme on June 9, while Christine and the Queens will play twice at the 10-day festival, on both days of the closing weekend on June 17 and June 18.

Other acts announced include Nigerian artist Yemi Alade, supported by future-punk South African musician Moonchild Sanelly, American indie rock band Warpaint, jazz and afro-beat eight-piece ensemble KOKOROKO and Nigerian singer Oxlade.

Then, Icelandic post-rock trio Sigur Rós will play a special set with the London Contemporary Orchestra.

Also featuring are rock band Sqürl, American musician Johnny Jewel, British multi-instrumentalist Bat For Lashes, dance act Lynks, New York experimental musician Serpentwithfeet, British pop duo Let’s Eat Grandma, electronic music producer Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs and experimental Austrian music act Soap&Skin.

“Ten nights that are ours. Southbank Centre filled with beloved artists, some I discovered recently, some I know are amazing performers and poets,” said Christine and the Queens. “Dance. Theatre. Words and music. Friends and future friends. Raving, hopefully. Art to save the city! To free its contours and enliven the soul – it’s the why we do what we do. I can’t effing wait.”

Further acts will be announced in Spring. The festival is also teasing “outdoor parties and more, inspired by Christine and the Queens’ curation” and a transformation of the Southbank’s outdoor spaces – news of which is also set to come later.

“Meltdown 2023 is shaping up to be like no other festival we’ve seen,” said Adem Holness, the head of contemporary music at the Southbank Centre. “If you’ve ever had a chance to experience the creativity of Christine and the Queens, you’ll know it’s full of fun and joy, but also somewhere to help us make sense of the world around us, especially as queer people.”

Mark Ball, the artistic director at the Southbank Centre, said: “Christine and the Queens’ boundary-breaking work has made him one of the most compelling artists of our age.  It’s thrilling to see the breadth of his extraordinary imagination come to life across Meltdown, one of the true highlights of the summer at the Southbank Centre. I can’t wait for us all to experience his curation and celebration of selfhood, identity and creativity.”

By curating the festival, the French singer-songwriter follows in the footsteps of Grace Jones, The Cure’s Robert Smith, David Bowie, Yoko Ono, Patti Smith, Nick Cave, Lee Scratch Perry and Jarvis Cocker. Christine and the Queens will be the youngest-ever Meltdown curator at just 28-years-old.

Meltdown will run from June 9-18, 2023; tickets will go on sale on March 17;