Photos by Catherine Goce 

Autumn is a cozy time. The blistering heat of summer is receding but the freezing cold of winter has not yet dug in. A month of school has allowed us to settle into our environment and our routines. It’s a time for a little tradition, a little Thanksgiving and a lot of community.

While many of us will settle into familiar spaces, Eternal Collective wants you to settle into a larger and perhaps slightly unfamiliar community of music and art lovers with their October music festival, Eternal Autumn.

Eternal Collective is a collaboration between Emily O’Rourke and Vince Soliveri. It came out of their desire to build community and create more space for intimate live shows in Hamilton. The first of these events is Eternal Autumn.

The festival launched last Friday at The Little Grasshopper Cafe with disk jockeys Kristen Archer, Smooth Transitions and Seema. Each Saturday in October will feature live performances, pop-up shops and interactive elements. Every week will showcase artists of different genres.

“I feel like all of these scenes operate in parallel but they don’t really intersect and…if they did intersect people would realize ‘oh I didn’t know I liked dream pop’…I feel like this allows people to explore that without having to really do much work,” explained Soliveri.

Autumn is a lazy time. It’s tantalizing to be able to attend a show with one artist that you may know and discover a couple more on the same night. O’Rourke and Soliveri have created shows where none of the bands playing sound quite the same, allowing music lovers to fall in love with something new.

[spacer height=”20px”]Another important part of the shows is that they will all take place in alternative venues. Not only will it allow audiences to learn about spaces in the city that they were not aware of, but it will add to the comfortable vibe of Eternal Autumn.

“I think house shows are a lot more comfortable for a lot more people. So making sure that people are comfortable and safe in a more intimate space, I guess, that way community can be built,” said O’Rourke.

Safety is O’Rourke and Soliveri’s key priority at the festival. Soliveri is part of a group called Safer Gigs Hamilton. They do harm reduction outreach at shows and will be set up throughout Eternal Autumn.

However, it takes more than two to make a safe show. They are putting on bands referred by people who are safety advocates. They have established a zero tolerance policy for any bigoted behaviour. The festival as a safer space to enjoy live music and creates a secure and welcoming environment for diverse audiences.  

[spacer height=”20px”]Attending the show is also a great way to give back to the community. A portion of the proceeds will go toward local non-profits, SACHA Hamilton, NGen Youth Centre, the AIDS Network, Internal House and Neighbour to Neighbour Centre. These organizations mean a lot to both O’Rourke and Soliveri.

“[T]hey’re putting in a lot of work in the city and I think a lot of it [is] unrecognized sometimes. So I think that it comes down to the fact that we’re putting on this thing…it might as well go towards something good,” explained O’Rourke.

[spacer height=”20px”]O’Rourke is excited to meet the people that come out to the shows. Soliveri hopes that the shows appeal not only to the musical and artistic sides of the audiences but also to their socially conscious sides. In this way, the festival will create spaces as warm as autumn.

The festival begins on October 6 with performances by Jaunt, Ginla and The Crowleys. Contact Eternal Collective for the location and keep up with their Facebook page for announcements of the upcoming shows.


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