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PREVIEW | Luminato In The Square Brings 10 Days Of Free Arts Programming To Downtown Toronto

By Anya Wassenberg on May 14, 2024

Luminato Music Weekend (Photo: Cassandra Popescu)
Luminato Music Weekend (Photo: Cassandra Popescu)

Luminato Festival announces Luminato in the Square, a slate of free music and other programming that runs from June 7 to 16 at David Pecaut Square. Luminato has curated the Square with a series of partners for a diverse and fresh line-up.

“We are excited to deliver a diverse range of arts and cultural programming at Luminato in the Square, made possible by unique collaborations with incredible organizations,” says Celia Smith, CEO of Luminato Festival Toronto in a statement. “Our festival hub will captivate the city with one-of-a-kind experiences each day.”

Those experiences include concerts, dance and other performances by local, Canadian and international artists, along with interactive activities, food vendors, and markets to browse.

L-R (clockwise): Musician/artist Jeremy Dutcher (Photo: Kirk Lisa); Peruvian band Los Mirlos (Photo: Charlotte Beja); Luminato Music Weekend (Photo: Cassandra Popescu)
L-R (clockwise): Musician/artist Jeremy Dutcher (Photo: Kirk Lisa); Peruvian band Los Mirlos (Photo: Charlotte Beja); Luminato Music Weekend (Photo: Cassandra Popescu)

Earth Garden: Aki Gitigaan (June 7)

A celebration of music, art, dance, poetry, and much more based on the Seven Grandfather Teachings, and curated by FabCollab’s Miigwech Collective and Luminato Festival Toronto.

  • Later in the day, Elder Duke Redbird will perform original poetry with dancer and Miigwech Collective member Cotee Harper;
  • Polaris Prize and Juno-winner Jeremy Dutcher will perform;
  • The evening ends with DJ Classic Roots and a dance party.

The Indie Scene (June 8)

An international line-up of indie talent, courtesy of Wavelength Music:

  • Ethio-jazz legend Hailu Mergia;
  • Post-punk band Protomartyr (including Kelley Deal of The Breeders);
  • Indie-folk singer Cassandra Jenkins;
  • Sub Pop drone-popster Lael Neale;
  • NYC experimental composer Peter Zummo;
  • Toronto band Mother Tongues;
  • And more.

Along with the music, there will be art instillations and an indie market, and family-friendly programming through the day, including a musical treasure hunt, an interactive set with African music-maker Njacko Backo, and much more.

Afro Ascension (June 9)

Grammy-winning Somali-Canadian rapper K’naan headlines, with a star-studded line up that includes Haitian-Canadian musician Vox Sambou, Puerto Rican trombonist William Cepeda, Cuban hip-hop/dancehall artist La Dame Blanche, and Ghanian singer-songwriter Rocky Dawuni. The ensemble of artists is coming together for the third edition of the International Concert Against Racism. Curated by the Global Coalition Against Systemic Racism and for Reparations, Fondation Michaëlle Jean Foundation, and Luminato Festival Toronto.

Chill at Luminato in the Square (June 10 – June 12)

For those looking for a more laid back break in the city centre, there will be two days of chill, including:

  • You are swimming here, an AR (augmented reality) experience that revolves around climate change and the human impact on the natural world. The interactive mission was co-conceived by Luke Garwood and Heidi Strauss.
  • Evanescent by Atelier Sisu is a large scale immersive work of art, or ‘art-chitecture’ is a playful work that urges viewers to live in the moment and take nothing for granted.
Art installation Evanescent (Photo: Markus Ravik)
Art installation Evanescent (Photo: Markus Ravik)

Toronto Arts Council’s 50th Anniversary Celebration (June 13)

The Toronto Arts Council invites the city to an all-ages event showcases dance, music, visual and media arts, with performances by Pan Fantasy, Cris Derksen, Berma x Inter Access and Tapestry Opera, along with family-friendly interactive arts activities.

Welcome to Char Bagh (June 14)

This celebration of South Asian music, visual arts, dance, architecture, and artisans is based on pre-colonial South Asian culture, with a mix of the classical and the contemporary, including a South Asian bazaar, Kathak dance, Hindustani ghazals, Bangladeshi pop, and much more. Highlights include the North American debut of Pakistani pop icon Natasha Noorani, and veteran producer Talal Qureshi. Curated by the Tawoos Initiative.

Lulaworld (June 15)

Lulaworld is programmed by the people behind the popular west end venue, Lula Lounge, with a family-friendly line-up of Latin, Brazilian and Indigenous music and dance. Performers include international legends and local stars like Juno-winning vocalist Dayme Arocena, Rio de Janeiro’s Forroçacana, and the legendary Los Mirlos, known as the kings of Peruvian Cumbia

The Finale (June 16)

First, versatile vocalist Measha Brueggergosman-Lee leads a roster of familiar Canadian hip-hop and gospel artists artists in a gospel hour. The second part of the Finale takes you to New Orleans Second Line tradition with the Heavyweights Brass Band, Polaris and Juno-winning rapper/songwriter Haviah Mighty, and New Orleans’ Queen of Bounce, Big Freedia.

The Disability Collective’s variety show featuring Deaf and disabled drag, dance, and jazz performers is coupled with their pop-up artisan market of handmade goods made by disabled artisans. Curated by The Disability Collective and Luminato Festival Toronto.

  • Find out more about each day’s Luminato in the Square offerings [HERE].

Are you looking to promote an event? Have a news tip? Need to know the best events happening this weekend? Send us a note.

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