For Scott Palko, owner of Revelree Entertainment Inc., creating an annual music festival in Sarnia was a matter of getting it right and not just doing it quickly. That’s why it took nearly seven years of planning, and of course additional planning time because of the COVID-19 pandemic, before the Revelree Music Festival was born in 2022. By all accounts it was the success Scott dreamed of and the second annual Revelree Music Festival at Canatara Park is set to go July 21-22. “Our first festival was wonderful; top to bottom we could not have asked for much more,” Scott says. “We had just over 4,000 people over the course of the weekend, the bands were fantastic and the weather cooperated. Honestly, the crowds were unbelievable and the feedback we received on Canatara itself as a venue was people were ecstatic to experience something like that.”

Scott, who got his start in the business by doing fundraisers for testicular cancer awareness, was very thorough in planning for his first music festival. He intently studied other successful music festivals to better understand the dos and don’ts of such a huge undertaking. “We looked at the major players such as the Ottawa Blues Festival and Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in California to see the offerings they were able to provide attendees,” Scott says. “The challenge for us was, instead of just doing one festival, how do we do something that becomes an annual event you don’t want to miss? You want great music, of course, but what about what is going on between acts and what is going on inside the venue? In our case, we are right on the shores of Lake Huron with access to the beach.”

The first Revelree Music Festival in 2022 featured the likes of Canadian icons Blue Rodeo, Big Wreck, Donovan Woods and Death From Above. The 2023 festival will have Little White Lies, The Gypsy Flats, Living Room For Small, Aysanabee, LIGHTS and Arkells on July 21 and Brothers Wilde, Courtney Wolfe, Born Riot, JJ Wilde, Tom Cochrane and The Glorious Sons on July 22. Scott feels the strength of this year’s lineup is in its diversity. “Our approach when putting together the lineup is honestly doing a lot of research on great live acts,” Scott says. “We are less concerned about genre-specific nights. We’ll play a rock band and a country band on the same night because maybe there are people who like one band but haven’t had the opportunity to listen to the other. But when it’s a really great live show and you have the opportunity to listen to bands you otherwise wouldn’t have listened to, you learn from that. It opens your eyes to new acts.”

Organizers of the Revelree Music Festival have spent a lot of time analyzing the first event in an effort to make sure the second is even better. “Last year being our first festival, there was focus on operations and experience,” Scott says. “This year things will definitely be tightened up and we’re looking forward to seeing 8-10 thousand people in the park enjoying great music together. ”

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