Luminato Toronto 2013

5 concerts to check out at Luminato 2013

Don't look now, but the 2013 edition of the Luminato Festival, which runs from June 14 - 23, is just over a week away. This annual celebration of the arts, now in its seventh year, always has a strong focus on music, and this year's is no different.

In fact, it features one of the stronger lineups of artists in recent memory, many of whom will be performing free concerts throughout the week. Yes, free - Luminato is truly a festival that gives back to fans of music and art in general.

With so much to do and see during the festival, it can be difficult to narrow down what concerts and shows you should check out above all the rest. I've got you covered, though - here's what you don't want to miss at Luminato 2013.

Note: unless otherwise stated, these shows are free and will all be taking place at the festival's Hub, located at David Pecaut Square

Joni: A Portrait in Song / Massey Hall / Tuesday, June 18 and Wednesday, June 19, at 7:30pm
This was already shaping up to be the can't-miss event of Luminato 2013 - a two-day celebration of the music of Joni Mitchell, with an all-star lineup of musicians re-interpreting her timeless catalogue of music. Last week, it was announced that the lady of the hour herself will be in attendance at both shows, where she will perform with her band. Other musicians who will be on hand include Rufus Wainwright, Liam Titcomb, Cold Specks, Kathleen Edwards, Lizz Wright, Chaka Khan, Esperanza Spalding, Herbie Hancock, and Glen Hansard. That's a pretty awesome collection of artists, and this promises to be a great celebration of one Canada's most beloved musicians. Tickets available at the official Luminato website and Massey Hall's website.

Patrick Watson / Thursday, June 20, 9:00 - 10:00pm
If you don't know who Patrick Watson is by now, you really should - the Montreal native is, I'd argue, one of the most talented musicians in Canada at the moment. He and his eponymous band were awarded the 2007 Polaris Music Prize for their album Close to Paradise, and shortlisted for the award again in 2009 for Wooden Arms. On a personal level (and I know a lot of people who would agree with me), this is my most-anticipated show of Luminato 2013 - it's not often that you can see a performer of Watson's ilk for the price of on the house. Don't miss this one.

Serena Ryder / Friday, June 14, 9:00 - 10:00pm
Since the release of her sixth album, Harmony, last November, Serena Ryder has finally achieved the mainstream success that she rightly deserves. The Millbrook native, who's been on the scene since 1999, earned her first certified platinum single with "Stompa," a song which has gotten an absurd amount of radio play. While I haven't seen her live as of yet, I've heard nothing but good things from those who have. This will probably be one of the more popular shows of Luminato 2013, as Ryder's never been hotter.

Rosanne Cash / Saturday, June 22, 9:00 - 10:00pm
As the daughter of the legendary Johnny Cash, you might expect Rosanne Cash to have had difficulty in forging a successful career for herself without being stuck in the shadow of her father. Rosanne, however, has arguably become one of the most beloved country singer-songwriters of her generation. In a career that has spanned more than 30 years, she's released 14 albums, the most recent of which was a career retrospective titled The Essential Rosanne Cash. Her next album, set for release in September, will be her first album of all-original material in over seven years. You'll definitely want to take the opportunity to see a true legend take the stage at Luminato 2013.

k-os / Friday, June 14, 8:00 - 9:00pm
The last time k-os performed in Toronto, back in April, there were some sound issues that greatly detracted from the show (blame the Danforth Music Hall for that one). Anyone who's seen k-os live knows that his enthusiasm and energy onstage makes for an unforgettable show, which is why those technical difficulties must have been disappointing for those in attendance. At Luminato 2013, however, the Toronto hip-hop legend will be performing on an outdoor stage, which should eliminate any major sound or acoustic issues. Trust me - this is a show you'll want to see.

For a complete list of artists performing at Luminato 2013, swing by the festival's official website.

Photo of Serena Ryder courtesy of Tabercil on Flickr.

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