Dust off your guitar and get practising the Guinness World Records book awaits.
The Luminato Festival has chosen its short list for The Great Canadian Tune, a participatory public event that organizers hope will set a Guinness world record for the largest-ever guitar ensemble.
Here's how it works. Starting today, the public can vote for the Great Canadian Tune from a list of 10. Then, on June 6, anyone with a guitar is invited to congregate at Yonge-Dundas Square in downtown Toronto to play the tune chosen in what could be the largest guitar jam session ever held. Luminato organizers are hoping to attract at least 2,000 guitarists to eclipse the current world record, set by 1,802 people who gathered in Leinfelden-Echterdingen, Germany, to play Deep Purple's Smoke on the Water.
Luminato began with a list of more than 40 songs drawn from the last 30 years of Canadian music. After an internal survey among Luminato employees and their friends and families, the list was culled to about 25. Organizers then took into consideration each song's playability and eliminated songs with less of a focus on the guitar, before finally consulting with the Heartbroken, the band that will lead the playing of the winning tune.
"It's one of those things that's really tricky. No matter what list you come up with … everyone will be fighting over it," said Chris Lorway, Luminato's artistic director.
Voting closes on May 27, and on May 30 the tablature for the winning tune will be posted on the Luminato website.
The list of contenders runs the Canadian gambit, with obvious classics like Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah and Takin' Care of Business by Bachman-Turner Overdrive (Randy Bachman leads Luminato's free opening-night concert), as well as a pair of contemporary favourites Feist's 1 2 3 4 and Sarah Harmer's Basement Apartment.
"It's easy to [go with songs by] default that everybody knows from 30 or 40 years ago, and we were trying to also be a bit more current," Lorway said.