A “phenomenal” group of musicians is set to perform at this year’s Revival on the River, says the event’s founder Ethan Oltremari.
“It’s a great lineup of very, very talented artists,” he said.
The annual Christian music festival will be held Saturday, May 11, at the park between the bridges on the banks of the Yazoo River.
Admission is free, and the gates will open at 1 p.m. with the first performance beginning at 1:30 p.m.
Revival on the River, which is being presented by the city of Greenwood, Mike Rozier Construction, and Revival Ministries, aims “to unite the body of Christ through worship, outreach and missions.”
“Everything we do is about unifying the body of Christ and bringing people closer to Jesus,” said the 21-year-old event founder.
The music festival is going into its fourth year. Last year, 1,200 attended even though the concert was moved to the Leflore County Civic Center because of inclement weather.
“This has been a journey,” said Oltremari. “Just from 2016, seeing the growth and seeing how the community has taken this event under its wings and allowed it to become really a Greenwood community event. It’s just been awesome to see the support behind it.”
This year’s headliner will be People & Songs, a collective of songwriters, artists and worship leaders representing various Christian denominations.
“The biggest reason of why we chose them as the headliner is the way they literally embody our vision as an organization,” said Oltremari. “They are very diverse, both racially and musicwise. They play a lot of different types of music.”
The group is led by Jennie Lee Riddle, who is best known for authoring the No. 1 hit single “Revelation Song,” which she wrote in 1999. The song was first recorded by Kari Jobe in 2003. She has been honored as a seven-time Dove award nominee and three-time Dove award winner.
People & Songs will take the Revival on the River stage at 7:30 p.m. Oltremari is excited about the group’s upcoming performance.
“It’s a beautiful image of how they do ministry and lead worship,” he said. “It’s just amazing the amount of power that they bring to the stage. ... I’m super excited to see what they do and to be led in worship by them.”
Other performers will include Greenwood acts Sonz of God and The Collins Family and Greenwood native Thomas Toole.
Also performing, from other areas of the state, Alabama and Louisiana, will be James Keith & Laurel Taylor, Big Al Cherry, Coram Deo Worship, Eddie Willis, Reagan Daniels and Andi Cotten.
“It’ll be a full day of music,” said Oltremari.
Between the performances will be prayer, Scripture reading and testimonies.
The event will feature about 19 mission booths from such organizations as the United Way of Leflore County and its agencies, Mission: Socks, the Junior Auxiliary of Greenwood, Delta Streets Academy, The Hands and Feet Project, Samaritan’s Purse and others.
Revival on the River will include food vendors Larry’s Fish House, By the Bridge Bistro and Chunky Dunks Sweets Truck from Jackson. Several of the mission booths will also provide free bottles of water.
There will be a children’s corner with free activities, such as games, face painting and inflatables.
The park will be fenced in with an entrance and exit, courtesy of KT Builder.
Revival on the River will have an event shop with T-shirts, souvenirs and CDs of the performers.
Over the past few years, Revival on the River has grown from a music festival to a nonprofit organization with about 120 volunteers, a 12-member board of directors, committees and a youth team.
“Our team has grown exponentially every year,” said Oltremari. “Every time I think about it, I can’t believe we’re here.”
On April 27, the first Revival on the River music festival outside of Greenwood was held in Pascagoula.
“There was a guy down there who caught the vision of what we were doing here in Greenwood and wanted to make that happen in Pascagoula,” said Oltremari.
A performance by Ethan Oltremari Music capped the event, which had more than 300 people in attendance.
“It was one of the most humbling experiences I’ve ever been a part of,” he said. “It shows you what God can do if you just say, ‘Yes.’ I’m very grateful to just see what the Lord has done over the past couple of years, and I’m thankful to be a small part of it.”
Oltremari started Revival on the River when he was a high school senior at Pillow Academy, about a month before his graduation.
On Friday, Oltremari graduated from Delta State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in entertainment industries studies with a focus on audio engineering technology. He now resides in Indianola, where he serves as worship pastor at Indianola First United Methodist Church.
“(Revival on the River) has been a huge part of my life the past couple of years,” he said. “I almost can’t remember a time before it. It just feels like it’s always been here, and that might be because the vision has always been here.”
When Revival on the River first started, Oltremari said he just saw a need for a music festival.
“That’s all that was on my mind,” he said. “Always, God has something bigger and more powerful planned than our minds can perceive.”
Over the past year, Revival on the River has expanded more into the mission and outreach part of the nonprofit.
“This year, we have been able to find a way to plug in our volunteers, plug in our team to those mission booths that are connected to our event,” said Oltremari. “If a mission booth needs volunteers, we can help facilitate that. We’re here to give them a voice at our event, and we’re here to help them in any way that they need. We’re here to help make sure they succeed.”
For more information about the event, visit www.revivalontherivergreenwood.com or like Revival on the River on Facebook.
• Contact Ruthie Robison at 581-7233 or firstname.lastname@example.org.