David Byrne and 349 of his clos­est friends

Richmond Hill Post - - Arts - By Ron John­son

also changed since the first one in 2013.

“This year we’re at Pe­cault Square in a spec­tac­u­lar tent — they’re trans­form­ing the grounds,” says Col­lett. “We wanted that out­door feel. It’ll be in­ter­est­ing for our show to be at ground zero for the fes­ti­val.”

At the end of each night, a lo­cally sourced house band will turn the tent “into a friv­o­lous dance party. It’s al­most like a wed­ding re­cep­tion, which is one of the few times as a cul­ture we gather in­ter­gen­er­a­tionally,” muses Col­lett.

And as with a good wed­ding, the house band will be ex­cep­tional. “We ex­tend the in­vi­ta­tion to our guest artists to treat [the house band] like a live karaoke band. They may be here with­out their regular back­ing band, so we give them a ready-made one, with a large set list to choose from, so they can jump up on­stage and sing.”

As for the artists ap­pear­ing, when pressed for who might be on­stage in the tent, he laughs.

“You have to look at the Lu­mi­nato brochure and make some ed­u­cated guesses. That’s part of the fun, the mys­tery!”

Past per­form­ers have in­cluded Feist, Daniel Lanois and Ru­fus Wain­wright.

It’s no mys­tery as to which act at the fes­ti­val he him­self is most look­ing for­ward to, though. “There’s a lot of great mu­sic this year. But I’m most look­ing for­ward to David Byrne’s project. I get goose­bumps just think­ing about it.” ad­mits that a few cul­tural in­sti­tu­tions did not jump at the op­por­tu­nity to be in­volved with the pro­duc­tion, but he’s glad it found a home both at Lu­mi­nato as well as the Bar­clays Cen­tre in Brook­lyn where it will travel af­ter Toronto.

“Why Lu­mi­nato? Well, they seemed in­ter­ested, so why not?” says Byrne.

“If you could imag­ine, there were a few in­sti­tu­tions I ap­proached that turned this down, be­lieve it or not. They were kind of like, uh what?”

There were a few mu­si­cians, though, who knew of colour guard,such as An­nie Clark (St. Vin­cent) who grew up in Ok­la­homa and Texas where it’s a big high school ac­tiv­ity.

“Not ev­ery­one said yes,” says Byrne. “And some­times for prac­ti­cal rea­sons: ‘No, I’m on tour,’ or ‘Can’t make the time com­mit­ment.’ But we’re re­ally thrilled with th­ese peo­ple who are deeply em­bed­ded in a world they didn’t know ex­isted.”

Each artist has been paired with a colour team to work on their per­for­mance. Nelly Fur­tado is part­nered with a team from Kitch­ener, which was on hand at the me­dia launch to pro­vide a lit­tle demon­stra­tion. Byrne is work­ing with a team from Mon­treal. The de­tails of the pro­duc­tion are a bit hush­hush, but ex­pec­ta­tions are high.

“This is a lit­tle hard to de­scribe, but maybe peo­ple will say, ‘Oh yeah, it’s go­ing to be an amaz­ing vis­ual spec­ta­cle,’ ” says Byrne.

Let’s go with that.

Ja­son Col­lett

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