POP: A summer melting pot
Saturday 20 June 1998
The Delgados are independent thanks to their own fruitful label, Chemikal Underground; Cornershop became an overnight sensation after six ramshackle years of obscurity in indieville, and even Damon Albarn
and Graham Coxon of Blur survived rough times during the grunge revolution.
John Peel (right), the man with more than 30 years of heroic service at Radio One, chose the names for this year's "Meltdown" and has a few theories of his own as to why UK rock is cooling down so dramatically.
"It's all become so corporate," he explains. "In pop, the unexpected is sought after - you're always looking for something to happen which is unlike anything you have encountered before. Plus people are getting greedy, putting on too many festivals and then the same bands seem to be playing all of them. And I think last year's Glastonbury really put a lot of people off - the weather was just so frightful."
Under Peel's direction (previous years have seen the likes of Elvis Costello and Laurie Anderson taking the helm), diversity is the watchword for this year's season.
From today to 5 July, audiences will be able to enjoy wayward talents from techno, indie, world music and comedy. Highlights include a Warp Records Showcase, a Creeping Bent Showcase with Scottish pop, Ivor Cutler and Ardal O'Hanlon. Spiritualized, Sonic Youth and the Jesus & Mary Chain will also be big draws.
Peel is keen to offer a few words of support for artists from outside the fashionable elite - in particular, those from overseas. One event loosely dubbed "John Peel Presents" will include FSK from Munich and The King, who cover contemporary songs in the manner of Elvis Presley. And then there is Thomas Mapfumo, whom Peel first saw in Zimbabwe many years ago. He was taken aback by the friendliness and warmth of the people at that African concert and felt that the music exuded a similar spirit.
Peel feels that the defining nature of his "Meltdown" is represented as well by the presence of Mapfumo as by that of anyone else.
"If there are only two people there to see him, it will be my wife and myself," he says happily.
RFH, QEH and Purcell Room, South Bank SE1 (0171-921 0600) to 5 Jul
Life & Style blogs
What do the emojis on Snapchat mean?
A nap a day could save your life
Have sex with your iPad thanks to the new sex toy no-one asked for
Windows 10 automatically sends parents detailed dossier of their children's internet history and computer use
The antidote to Tinder? Majority of dating app users want relationship, rather than hook-ups, study finds
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
'Women only' train carriages: Jeremy Corbyn unveils radical move to tackle public harassment
Black holes are a passage to another universe, says Stephen Hawking
Iain Duncan Smith 'should resign over disability benefit death figures', says Jeremy Corbyn
Tony Blair attacks Jeremy Corbyn's 'Alice In Wonderland' politics
Theresa May says migrants should be banned from entering the UK unless they have jobs lined up
- 1 Barbarians vs Samoa interrupted by sprinklers as fans criticise lack of Wi-Fi and poor seating at West Ham's Olympic Stadium
- 2 Watch the Supermoon live: How to see the brightest Moon of the year tonight
- 3 Hulk Hogan wants to be Donald Trump's running mate in the US Presidential election
- 4 Blood Moon and Supermoon: September to bring brightest – and dimmest – full Moon of the year on same night
- 5 David De Gea to Real Madrid: Real finally get their man with £29m bid for Manchester United goalkeeper
£28000 - £37000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...
£22000 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company's mission is to ma...
£13832 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This 5 star leisure destination on the w...
£20000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Account Manager is requ...