ORNETTE COLEMAN, jazz legend, is the director of this year’s Meltdown Festival, which starts on Friday with a performance by Tony Allen, another legend, this time of the Afrobeat genre.

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In fact, you could lob the word “legend” at the South Bank anytime over the next week or so and find a likely target.

Other big names ready to take Meltdown by storm include Baaba Maal, Yoko Ono and Patti Smith, who once directed the festival herself.

That was back in 2005, when Smith came up with a soundbite that still fits the experimental spirit festival well.

“I just see rock as a raw art form that belongs to the people, but has possibilities of merging with poetry, politics, the spiritual and the revolutionary,” she said.

Coleman adorns those sentiments with love.

“I hope this festival will leave us with a lot of love for all mankind,” he said. “We will use this time to gather together and create things that we love and believe in.”

Possibly in the ‘slightly sub-legend, but well on their way to promotion’ status are the likes of James Blood Ulmer, Moby and Yo La Tengo and there are loads of other incredibly talented musicians joining in the party.

Topping the bill and closing the whole shebang is the man himself, Ornette Coleman, who is to perform Reflections of This is Our Music, a re-take of his famous album, alongside Flea, out of the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Meltdown runs from 12-21 June at various South Bank venues.