Toronto's most inspiring people of 2016: Jörn Weisbrodt's Luminato legacy

Rufus Wainwright writes about a Luminato festival for the ages and a blueprint for the future

By Rufus Wainwright, singer-songwriter and composer

HIS 2016: Completed his five-year run at Luminato by transforming the Hearn power plant into an arts and culture hub

Jörn immediately had an electrifying effect on the Luminato Festival and on the city of Toronto.

Even in the first year, when he hadn’t done most of the programming, he brought in a tribute to Kate McGarrigle, my mother, which of course meant a lot to me, and it helped to introduce our arrival to the city.

Then there were events like Joni Mitchell’s 70th birthday and Apocalypsis, which were really profound movements in an artistic sense.

With the Hearn experiment, it was a wonderful way for all of his really visionary concepts to be placed under one roof, one massive city block roof. We’re fortunate, both we and Toronto, because we got to really encapsulate his philosophy and make a bold statement. And the city of Toronto had the opportunity to discover this new area and also to really have the bar raised and a tradition put in place to strive that little bit harder.

Jörn was a big part of that. 

The thing about Jörn is that he is very much dedicated to his job as an artistic administer and creative advisor the way an artist is dedicated to their art. He is as passionate about seeing something really interesting come to fruition as I am about writing a good song.

He treats it with the same kind of abandon, shall we say. And that’s rare in the world of the arts, and certainly for people like me, who want to work in the theatre and make those bigger statements. We need allies to facilitate that and connect all the dots, and Jörn is that person.

The full index of our stories about Toronto's most inspiring people of 2016.

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