As detailed last week, Yoko Ono is curating the 2013 Meltdown Festival, featuring nightly concerts and events in London from last Friday through this Sunday. So far Meltdown has seen the Plastic Ono Band rock the first night, Peaches perform Yoko’s iconic “Cut Piece,” Activism Weekend (with Pussy Riot and Guerrilla Girls speaking), Iggy Pop (with at least one member of Yuck in attendance), Thurston Moore, Kim Gordon’s new duo Body/Head, Siouxsie, Deerhoof, Cibo Matto’s first UK show in 15 years, a day long free showing of Yoko’s films, and more. On June 18th – in advance of her Meltdown performance that night – Julianna Barwick released the second single from her forthcoming album Nepenthe. The track, entitled “One Half,” is streaming here; more details on the album are here. The festival concludes on June 23rd with the first ever live performance of Double Fantasy.
Listen to Yoko and Pussy Riot speak in the audio segment above. Yoko describes the two freed members of Pussy Riot she met as “very young, delicate, sensitive girls who [without the masks] emanated light like angels.” More of Yoko’s thoughts on Pussy Riot (and her own life’s work) is in the current cover feature of Metro Times (here). Watch Pussy Riot at the Let’s Start A Pussy Riot book launch here; Peaches discuss activism and “Cut Piece” here; the Guerrilla Girls here and a dialogue on art and activism here. Read Peaches’ interview about “Cut Piece” and more at Londonist and a review of the Plastic Ono Band’s opening set at businessweek.com.
A continually updated photo stream is available on flickr. Additional photos are here. Watch Cibo Matto’s complete set (with Sean Lennon) here and Deerhoof’s complete set below, followed by select tweets from the event.
UPDATE July 18
Amnesty International has published an open letter signed by Yoko and over 100 other musicians including Sir Paul McCartney, Sean Lennon, Kim Gordon, Thurston Moore, the surviving members of the Clash, Radiohead, U2, Coldplay, Patti Smith, Billy Bragg, Tom Morello, Pete Townshend, Ke$ha, Madonna, björk, Animal Collective, Arcade Fire, Cat Power, Karen O, Adele, Billy Joel, Sir Elton John, Jeff Beck, Jackson Browne, Don Henley, Peter Gabriel, Sir Bob Geldof, Tracy Chapman, Joan Baez, Paul Simon, Bruce Springsteen, and Eddie Vedder. They ask you join them by signing the petition here. Read the full letter below:
Dear Masha and Nadia,
As the one-year anniversary of your trial approaches, we are writing to assure you that, around the world, people are both still thinking of you and working for your release. Although you were the most visible of the protesters, we know that there were many other young people who have suffered in the protests, about whom we are also very concerned. But, in many ways, through your imprisonment, you have come to represent them.
Many artists voiced their concern when these charges were first brought against you, we had every hope that the authorities, in dealing with you, would show some understanding, a sense of proportion, even some of the wonderful Russian sense of humour, but none of the above were forthcoming.
The impact of your shockingly unjust trial and imprisonment has spread far and wide. Especially among your fellow artists, musicians and citizens around the world, including the many parents who feel your anguish at being separated from your children. While understanding the sensitivities of protesting in a place of worship, we ask that the Russian authorities review these harsh sentences, so that you may return to your children, your families and your lives.
The right to freedom of expression and dissent is a legitimate one and essential in any kind of democracy. You have been accused of what could be described as ‘a victimless’ crime, but in our opinion, in a just society, there can be no crime where there is no identifiable ‘victim’.
Your strength, bravery and fearlessness are an inspiration to us all.
Yours in solidarity,
Bryan Adams, Adele, Alt-J, Laurie Anderson, Animal Collective, Anti-Flag, Arcade Fire, Arch Enemy, Archive, Joan Armatrading, Joan Baez, Beardyman, Jeff Beck, Yasiin Bey, björk, Rubén Blades, Billy Bragg, Jackson Browne, Peter Buck, Tracy Chapman, Chase & Status, Neneh Cherry, The Clash, Coldplay, Lily Rose Cooper, Dido, Django Django, Melissa Etheridge, Siobhan Fahey, Paloma Faith, First Aid Kit, Franz Ferdinand, Foster the People, fun., Peter Gabriel, Sir Bob Geldof, Kim Gordon, Debbie Harry, PJ Harvey, Don Henley, The Hidden Cameras, Niall Horan, Billy Joel, Sir Elton John, Ke$ha, Angelique Kidjo, The Knife, Mark Knopfler, Tom Lehrer, Sean Lennon, Annie Lennox, Lykke Li, Sir Paul McCartney, Romy Madley-Croft, Madonna, Zayn Malik, Stephen Malkmus, Marina & the Diamonds, Johnny Marr, Massive Attack, Mike Mills, Moby, Thurston Moore, Tom Morello, Alanis Morissette, James Morrison, Graham Nash, Kate Nash, Youssou N’Dour, Karen O, Yoko Ono, Clock Opera, Ozzy Osbourne, Liam Payne, Peaches, Joe Perry, Phoenix, Portishead, Portugal. The Man, Rain Phoenix, Cat Power, Radiohead, Bonnie Raitt, Rise Against, Patti Scialfa, Scissor Sisters, Paul Simon, Sleigh Bells, Patti Smith, Esperanza Spalding, Bruce Springsteen, Dave Stewart, Sting, Michael Stipe, Harry Styles, Neil Tennant, Louis Tomlinson, Pete Townshend, K T Tunstall, U2, Eddie Vedder.”