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Thursday, 7 June, 2001, 12:36 GMT 13:36 UK
Meltdown for legend Wyatt
Robert Wyatt
Wyatt's (front) musical careers spans three decades
The Meltdown 2001 festival launches on Thursday with Elvis Costello, Tricky, and Pink Floyd's David Gilmour just some of the performers.

Meltdown, at the Royal Festival Hall in London, is one of the South Bank's highest profile festivals of the year.

Each year a guest director is invited to programme two weeks of performances that reflect their diverse and cultural tastes.

Previous shows have seen Scott Walker, Nick Cave, Elvis Costello and John Peel take the helm.

Elvis Costello
Elvis Costello was a previous artistic director for Meltdown
Enigmatic British musician Robert Wyatt, the former Soft Machine drummer, was invited to become Meltdown's artistic director this year.

The festival runs for 21 days and, although not performing himself, Wyatt has invited musicians that reflect his own avant-garde tastes.

His own career has spanned more than three decades as a songwriter, vocalist and drummer.

An accident in the 70s left him wheelchair-bound, but he continued to experiment with music, producing arguably some of his best work.

Over the years he has worked with the likes of Brian Eno, Jimi Hendrix and Paul Weller and can count many great musicians as fans.

On 24 June a tribute concert to Wyatt is being staged with Annie Whitehead joined by Brett Anderson, Karen Mantler and Costello - with whom he wrote his chart hit, Shipbuilding.

Other artists hand-picked by Wyatt to appear include John Sunman and Jack DeJohnette, The Residents, Gorky's Zygotic Mynci and the Terry Riley Allstars.

Meltdown 2001 runs until 27 June.

See also:

17 Feb 00 | UK
New look for South Bank
02 May 01 | Music
Festival Hall hits 50
05 Jan 01 | Entertainment
'Top 100' rock'n'roll albums
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