The Legacy of Holy Oak – Kate Starchild, Addelle McCauley + more ( BIG on Bloor Fest),

A long day out in the sun, we met up with the mind(s) behind a humble abode at BIG on Bloor fest. Kate Starchild is the interview-guru behind the Holy Oak project, Kate and Addelle spoke to us regarding the fate of being here. In last minute madness Carla Garnet curator of the festival contacted Kate to participate, Kate almost missed the email and with the help and support of her friend, Addelle, she helped bring this space together, adding pieces of a living room-home like feel without hesitation. The concept in the blueprint was the idea of wanting to do an interview ‘session’, over the winter break while having some time to reflect. Kate learned a lot of skills to transition/emotional tools and even the simplicity of communication, this was a priority and came first before the blossoming art project. Kate lived in the Bloorcourt from 2003-2006 and coming back again 3 years ago, to her comfortable grounds. She also realized how many women own businesses here and Kate figures maybe that had something to do with it.

Holy Oak to others was a venue to book shows every night and local music. The venue was extremely supportive to local artists and a platform to the industry, selling CDS and more. Over the span of 10 years, it was time for the space to retire. The Holy Oak was really a home for many, with its open-minded energy. Kate and Adele explained the life behind the café by day and event gathering pad by night. There were queer parties, singer-songwriter music nights, poetry and spoken word. For being a space that was on a commercial strip that installed a huge crowd, it continued to have a lot of meaning. Kate wanted to create stories and capture memories of the ex-paradise, almost as a ghost that keeps on lingering for new generations of the Holy Oak. “Sometimes you need to listen to other voices to understand, listen to waves and frequencies, ” says Kate. “If you didn’t know the area and space you wouldn’t know the importance of it. We are not a news outlet, we are giving a space for voices to resound or we simply would fade away”. Kate hopes when others listen, they can feel the magic and how there was nothing quite like it. Of course, the perfect ending would be for someone to hear this and open another business like the Holy Oak or even themselves visit a spot similar in their city. For some people, going to regular businesses or an area like the Eaton Centre, the space doesn’t feel like a safe place.

As a friend supporting this project, James Durham joined the conversation on building a new platform ( RevMuzik) to bring similar small artists like those that performed at the Holy Oak to a wide variety of venues and book gigs. “It’s made by musicians for musicians” states James. Rev Muzik doesn’t go any bigger than Danforth or smaller than 50 person venues. Considered to be the tinder for music. Fans can suggest artists and get paid for the matches if the event gets booked, it allows them to influence their music scenes instead of being apart of just a statistic. Artists and venues get to rate each other for how the event went and fans are also rated on how good their suggestions were. The best part is that if you don’t pay the artist in 72 hours they lock their account, so the artist doesn’t have to chase around a manager or individual waiting for payment.

With the world inside of our phones, we need to make mother earth feel like home again. We are all humans in one space, and we are treating each other like visitors. As the classic quote follows “ There is no such thing as strangers, only friends that we have not yet to meet”

If you are ever in need of a talented silkscreen artist for apparel or another project contact Addelle McCauley @

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