Luminato brings big name artists to Toronto

by Dexter Brown
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Luminato - Toronto

Eva Avila performed on Luminato’s opening night this year

Luminato - Toronto

Luminato Music Curator Derek Andrews (centre) at the Festival Hub

Toronto’s annual celebration of creativity, Luminato, kicked off on Friday night, and while the event often boasts that it brings the world’s best artists to the city, there are some surprises in store for Luminato regulars.

Derek Andrews, Luminato’s music curator, helps to program concerts at Luminato’s Festival Hub and says the festival has collaborations they’ve never seen before.

“This festival is really trying to push the envelope and introduce new faces and do things a bit differently,” Andrews says. “One of those things this year is that we’re saluting the Pan Am Games, which are coming to Toronto in 2015, so we’ve woven Pan Am originated artists from Mexico, Colombia, Haiti, Jamaica and Brazil to the festival.”

Luminato - Toronto

The Cardboard Beach at Luminato’s Festival Hub

The Pan Am Games theme goes beyond the music. Luminato’s Festival Hub offers Mexican-themed food prepared by Parts & Labour at the venue and it has the unique Cardboard Beach installation. Created by the Cuban visual artists Los Carpinteros, Cardboard Beach is complete with umbrellas, recliners and a lifeguard station – the perfect way to relax and take in the sounds for Luminato.

The music this year promises to be great. Canadian Idol Eva Avila performed Friday evening and acclaimed artists such as The Roots, TV on the Radio and Ziggy Marley are all set to take to the stage during the festival’s run. There’s particular excitement for The Roots who are often hard to book due to their commitments to The Tonight Show and previously Late Night.

“It doesn’t get any better than The Roots,” Andrews says. “We’ve been trying to get them at the festival for years and we got them.”

Luminato also has many free concerts at their Festival Hub and it’s a great option for some entertainment, food, drinks and rays if you’re on a budget.

“[The] Luminato festival is really a gift to Toronto and young Torontonians who are looking for a great deal. It doesn’t get any better than having free concerts,” Andrews says, “You’d have to pay for your drinks and the food, you don’t have to pay for the sunshine or the music.”

Luminato’s Festival Hub also hosts a few sponsor events. OLG provided a game on site for visitors and ladies had their nails done at the Essie booth/tent on the festival’s first day. The events will change throughout Luminato’s ten-day run.

The festival on a whole is a great way to say goodbye to spring and to welcome summer.

“Everybody should feel welcome and come celebrate a piece of Toronto that we get for 10 days, just as spring ends and summer starts and with this weather it looks like we’ll be able to celebrate for the next few days,” Andrews says. “Come down and appreciate and enjoy it.”

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