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Janelle Monae, The Roots, Jann Arden among stars headlining Toronto 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games

05/06/2015 11:00 EDT | Updated 05/06/2016 05:59 EDT
Organizers for the 35-day Toronto 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games arts and culture festival, PANAMANIA, revealed a rich and star-studded entertainment lineup Wednesday.

While international athletes flood into the city this summer, so too will 1,200 global and Canadian artists, who will hold 250 performances and exhibitions on the sidelines of the games, which have been billed as the largest multi-sport event ever hosted in Canada.

"The Games will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience, unlike anything this city has ever seen," said Saad Rafi, CEO of the Toronto 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games organizing committee.

"Not only are we going to have some of the best athletes in the world compete in our backyard, we're going to have 35 days of music, arts and culture that will inspire us and bring the city to life."

Major musical headliners

PANAMANIA will host 250 performances and exhibitions from July 10 to August 15.

Among the events will be free outdoor concerts headlined by award-winning Canadian and international musical artists, such as:

- The Flaming Lips

- Calle 13

- The Roots

- A Tribe Called Red

- Janelle Monae

- Café Tacvba

- Brigitte Boisjoli

- Chromeo

- Jann Arden

- Choc Quib Town

- Death From Above 1979

- Damien Robitaille

- Lila Downs

- Lights

- Luciano

- Dragonette

- Colin James

- USS

- Marie-Pierre Arthur

- Tanya Tagaq

- The Barra McNeils

Other programs feature ticketed and free events from the worlds of visual art, theatre, dance, comedy and fashion.

Diverse spectrum of art

The festival will draw on a diverse spectrum of works from 28 commissioned artists, including:

- Dancer-turned-filmmaker Veronica Tennant

- Photographer Edward Burtynsky

- Comedian Sandra Shamas

- Spoken word artist Mustafa the Poet

- Choreographer and performer Crystal Pite

- Canadian theatre icon Robert Lepage

PANAMANIA will see Lepage premiere his latest one-man show, 887, which explores memory and Quebec's social and political history through the artist's own childhood memories.

"The reason why I wanted to do this show," Lepage explained to CBC, "is because in Quebec license plates bear the words "Quebec: Je me souviens" or "Quebec: I remember." But if you ask Quebecers 'Why is it 'I remember?'' people don't know why."

The piece, which switches between French and English, is set in Quebec City from start of Quebec's Quiet Revolution to the end of the October Crisis.

It also explores the cultural debates as they existed in Lepage's family home.

"I think it's an interesting way of reminding people about the origins of the whole [French/English cultural debate], said Lepage.

"And it's a very funny show. It's done very lightly. It's also a very moving show." 

Fans can also expect an original performance at the Pan Am Games opening ceremony which was designed by famed troupe Cirque du Soleil.

The Toronto 2015 Pan American Games kick off at the Rogers Centre on July 10.

The whole thing wraps with the Parapan Am closing ceremony on Aug. 15 at Nathan Phillips Square.

Tickets and scheduling information can be found on the official PANAMANIA website.

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