Revelree Music Festival setting up in Sarnia’s Canatara Park

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Work began Wednesday to set up the Revelree Music Festival at Sarnia’s Canatara Park in preparation for the new live music event running Friday and Saturday.

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Festival director Scott Palko said the stage arrived Wednesday morning while fencing and other preparations were expected to be put in place Thursday.

“The stage is here and all the suppliers are starting to come in, and we’re starting to transform the park,” he said. “We’re getting excited.”

The festival gates are scheduled to open Friday at 4 pm with a lineup of emerging bands. Gates open at 2 pm Saturday, when the lineup is Circle the City, followed by Red Wanting Blue, Texas King, Bedouin Soundclash, Donovan Woods, Big Wreck and Blue Rodeo.

Palko said “a few thousand” tickets were sold as of Wednesday morning.

“Saturday, obviously, is our really big night, but we’re got a great crowd for Friday,” he said.

Saturday’s lineup includes Juno-winner Donovan Woods, who grew up in Sarnia.

Woods said in an email he thinks of Canada Day and the international food booth, as well as the Children’s Animal Farm, when he thinks about Canatara Park.

“Are the baby goats still loose at the animal farm? God, I hope so,” Wood said. “Tell me they are. I also like to see the peacocks, but I prefer to have a baby goat angling me up and butting its head into my leg while I’m looking at peacocks.”

Woods said he thinks playing a show in the park is “fantastic.”

“I’m a little worried about the grass getting damaged, but that’s just the dad in me,” he added.

Woods studied theater in university after graduating from Northern Collegiate and later began recording his songs and traveling to Nashville, where he has written songs for Tim McGraw, Charles Kelley of Lady Antebellum, Billy Currington and others.

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He won a Juno in 2019 for his album Both Ways and was nominated again this year for his latest album, Without People.

Woods also recently released a six-song EP, Big Hurt Boy, and is about to head out on the road for a busy summer and fall of touring with stops around North America and Europe.

“It’s a lot of time away and that’ll be hard, but I enjoy the rhythm of touring when it’s going well,” Woods said.

Revelree grew out of Get the Ball Rolling and Summer Never Ends fundraising concerts Palko and others organized several years ago outside of restaurants at Sarnia Bay.

“We’ve got 14 bands over the two nights,” Palko said.

“We’ve got a whole infrastructure set up within the park” with “games to play, picnic tables, some good vendors that are going to be here,” he said. “Hopefully, we’ve got everything that people will need to enjoy a full day of music with us.”

Information about the festival, including the full lineup of bands, can be found online at

“We just ask people to be mindful it’s going to be a busy weekend,” so they should drive slowly and carefully in the park, Palko said.

The park will remain open during the festival, but a section of Lake Chipican Drive will be closed to traffic for the two days, he said.

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