Revelry planning to fill a huge gap in Kelowna music venue options | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Revelry planning to fill a huge gap in Kelowna music venue options

Artist rendering of proposed Revelry food and music venue.
Image Credit: Submitted/City of Kelowna

Plans are afoot to create a much needed multi-purpose music and café space in Kelowna that is aimed at attracting artists that currently take a pass on performing in the city.

Called Revelry, it’s a new company founded by Lee Simon with plans to convert what is now the Natural Resources grocery at 1383 Ellis Street into what will essentially be a café during the day and performance centre in the evenings – although it will be flexible enough to switch layouts at any time.

“Looking at a typical venue, it’s dark most of the time so the reality is that, if it’s designed right and is flexible enough, it should be able to do a lot of different things,” Lee told “In our world, we’ll have an everyday café but, when we have an event, the café will flip to an event-type venue.”

While such switches will likely be on a day versus evening basis, the café part could be shut down totally for a time if, for example, there is a multi-day performance event.

Plans submitted to the City of Kelowna this week call for the addition of a third floor on the building so there will be a ground floor suitable for seating about 400 people or have about 1,000 people standing. The third floor could, for example, host a banquet for 125 people at the same time.

That’s a size that was encouraged by Alan Doyle of Great Big Sea fame who Simon was chatting with on a music cruise a couple of years ago.

“The first thing out of his mouth was: ‘What Kelowna needs is a 1,000 person or a 1,200 person standing venue because they just don’t have it,’” Simon recalled. “I think there are many artists that pass over Kelowna. We would like to have them stop and share their music with the community.”

Simon spent 25 years “in the commercial foodservice design and construction arena,” according to his Linkedin profile, with more than 1,000 projects around the world. He wrote a syndicated column on hospitality design strategies and wrote a book called ‘The Restaurant Dream?’

Over the years he spent a lot of time talking to artists, learning what they needed in terms of venues and developed his ideas for this project.

His plans will have to go to Kelowna city council since there are a number of variances needed. Those include reducing the setback distances for the third floor and waiving the need to pay for five parking spots by creating 10 long term bike storage stalls and eight short-term bike stalls.

The application notes that the building is right across the street from the Library parkade and less than a block from the Memorial parkade so there’s lots of nearby parking for guests.

If all goes well, Simon hopes to open in 12 to 15 months. The plans include an option to set up temporary tents in the parking spot in front of the building for temperature checks, sanitizing and any other precautions that may still be in place because of COVID-19.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Rob Munro or call 250-808-0143 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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