Monday, Sep 24, 2018
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Music-Theater-Dance

Oliver Hazard will have its day in Waterville

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    Oliver Hazard performs Aug. 10 at Promenade Park in Toledo.

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    Oliver Hazard performs Aug. 10 at Promenade Park in Toledo.

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    Oliver Hazard — from left, Mike Belazis, Griffin McCulloch, and Devin East — will host Oliver Hazard Day on Friday in the band's hometown of Waterville.

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    Finnegan Myers, 4, of Waterville and her mother Olivia Myers dance as Oliver Hazard performs Aug. 10 at Promenade Park in Toledo.

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It may seem an understatement to say that 2018 was a big year for Waterville indie-folk trio Oliver Hazard.

The group performed a 45-minute set in front of 1,000 people at Tennessee’s Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in June, an event that also included performances by Eminem, the Killers, and Khalid on separate days. That was followed with a show in front of a larger crowd in Toledo while opening for disco stalwarts KC and the Sunshine Band at Promenade Park. Organizers said about 5,000 people watched Oliver Hazard’s set.

That’s not to mention the June release of its debut album 34 N. River, which includes its song “Caesar Knows,” a track that has more than 1.2 million streams on Spotify.

If You Go

What: Oliver Hazard Day

When: 7 to 11 p.m. Friday

Where: North Third Street, Waterville

Admission: $10 at the gate

Information: www.facebook.com/OliverHazardDay

Now, the trio, consisting of Mike Belazis, Griffin McCulloch, and Devin East, is hosting its first Oliver Hazard Day, a music and craft beer festival Festival in downtown Waterville.

“We wanted to create a space for us to interact with our local community on a different level,” Belazis said. “We haven’t played that many shows in Waterville, and this is our chance to create our own space to do that and make it big enough where as many community members [as possible] can come and attend.”

The festival will showcase five area breweries offering 3-ounce beer samples to guests, and musical performances from local bands ranging from Oliver Hazard, to artists from Third Street Cigar.

One of the breweries offering samples Friday is Wild Side Brewing Co. from Grand Rapids, Ohio.

“There’s not enough of these things, especially with local music, artists, and craft beer,” owner Nick Scott said. “It’s a fun thing for us brewers to do this and to get new people interested in our beer.”

All of the craft beer proceeds will be benefit the Whitehouse Library.

Toledo chamber pop band Violent Bloom and country blues artist Vester Frey will perform starting at 7 p.m.

Violent Bloom drummer and pianist Kate Kokonecki said her band started in 2015; the festival will be the first time the band has performed in Waterville. The band released its debut full-length Dark Minuet in 2017, which is filled with harmonic melodies with piano, drum, and bass, and its second EP, Not Anything, earlier this month.

“[Oliver Hazard] invited us to be a part of it and we were like, ‘Absolutely,’ ” she said. “It sounds awesome, and it’s a big benefit.”

Part of the evening will include Oliver Hazard playing its newest song “Take Me Back,” which Belazis said is the band’s first song lyrically about Ohio and will be featured on the band’s second full-length album, due out early in 2019.

“The song is about being a stranger in your hometown and also being a stranger elsewhere and wanting to come back to that place you knew that is very nostalgic,” he said.

Some of the festival’s proceeds will help kickstart Oliver Hazard as it embarks on an eight-day tour starting Sept. 1 that will take the band through Pennsylvania, New York, and Tennessee before wrapping up  in Columbus on Sept. 20.

Waterville Mayor Lori Brodie said the festival will help the band get ready for its tour while also donating some proceeds back to the Waterville community.

“The city is very proud Oliver Hazard is from Waterville,” she said. “It’s a day to send them off and wish them well [on tour]. We do like to support anyone from our town who is trying to do something.”

A raffle will be included in the festival for guests to win signed instruments from Oliver Hazard, records, T-shirts, gift cards, and house shows.

“It’s cool to see these local companies supporting our cause,” Belazis said. “It’s also cool to be able to give back at the same time. We’ve never had this sort of response for any event we’ve tried to throw.”

Contact Geoff Burns at gburns@theblade.com or 419-724-6054.

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