Waterville-based musical group Oliver Hazard presents the 2023 edition of “Oliver Hazard Day,” happening Aug. 12 in downtown Waterville. It’s a single-day music festival that was started by the group to create a deeper relationship with the NW Ohio community. It’ll showcase emerging artists they met from touring while also showcasing local breweries, food trucks, vendors and visual artists at the event.
We chatted with Oliver Hazard’s Michael Belazis to learn more.
How would you describe Oliver Hazard’s vibe?
Oliver Hazard is accessible indie folk, easy listening for all ages. We like to create songs that feel close to home, but also make you want to hum the melody for the rest of the day.
What will make this year different from past installments?
As we grow, the artists we invite will get bigger and more popular, and as a result, the festival will grow too. One major difference this year is our lineup will draw fans that aren’t JUST Oliver Hazard fans. You will see a ton of folks attending the festival specifically to see these other acts on this lineup, and that makes us super proud and excited. Other growth points, we are working with a new local brewery from Waterville, Ohio: Buffalo Rock. We can’t wait to try the beer that they are making for the festival. We are still working on the name. Possibly the Oli Ale?
Also, this year we have a large-scale, interactive art installment, painted by Cathy Tyda. She is super talented and we are looking forward to showcasing her talent.
Who are the other artists performing at Oliver Hazard Day 2023?
Illiterate Light is a guitar/drum duo (think White Stripes) who rocks real hard on stage. They are super inspiring, not only because of their great songs, but also because of their focus on environmentalism with their handmade “bike-powered stages.” Their most recent bike-powered project, featured at Newport Folk Festival, powered one of the acoustic stages, while the concert goers pedaled the bicycles, sending power to the speakers. We are big fans of their music and their environmental focused creativity.
Field Guide is our first international artist (hailing from Winnipeg, Canada). His songwriting is one of a kind. If you listen to any of his top 5 songs on Spotify, you are almost guaranteed to have them all stuck in your head for the rest of the week. We can’t wait to see him live.
Sam Burchfield is an artist that we’ve always wanted to meet in person. We love all of his records. His songs immediately sound like something that you’ve heard before, but completely original at the same time. It’s the perfect combination of familiarity and originality.
Finally, Jon Zenz is a good friend of ours from Toledo, Ohio. One of my favorite genres of music is 60s/70s reggae. And it so happens that Jon has a talent for song selection from old reggae, soul and Motown records. His DJing style of spinning vinyl records is super old school, and we cannot wait to see him perform his unique DJing style on August 12th. He will be opening up the event.
What makes Oliver Hazard Day different from other shows/festivals happening this summer?
There really isn’t anything in NW Ohio like this event. There is nowhere that you can stand in the front row to watch 4 unique, emerging, nationally touring, indie folk acts perform for only $15-$25. Unfortunately, NW Ohio isn’t a market where these types of musicians stop to perform, but we have created a reason for them to perform here.