Unless you are new to Toronto then you have heard of Luminato. The yearly arts, music and film festival inhabits Toronto every June to display its unique lineup and also its unique presentation. As this festival happens at the same time, or close to, the larger North By North East it suffers from being overlooked. While NXNE has far more bands Luminato has the panache that makes it absolutely worthwhile.
Luminato is centred on David Pecaut Square at 55 King Street West. For the length of the festival the square is a mix of futuristic playground and concert venue/park, with neon swings in one corner and a stage in the other. The stage is designed for relaxed viewing and listening as it comes complete with benches and fake grass. When I was there on the summer solstice, I was relaxing outside in the translucent twilight until 9 PM and it was one of the most memorable concerts to which I’ve been this year. The crowning feature is that this square, and the performances therein, are free
In honour of the Pan Am Games the public stage was hosting Pan-American bands like Ani Cordero and La Yegros. While I don’t speak Spanish, the songs and performance nonetheless made an impression on me and I felt as if I was in a small bar in Latin America. Despite my near monolinguality, introductions by the band and that tone of the song left little doubt that these were emotional protest songs about things like gay rights.
Every event performance that I been to has not been busy and these acts deserve better, especially when they are free. Luminato brings talent and an atmosphere that is all its own to Toronto every June. It is an event that you should never miss.