WATERVILLE – With a new theme song heralding the return of Oliver Hazard Day on Saturday, the group is hoping fans will bring an appetite for food, beer and American folk music.
This is the third annual Oliver Hazard Day, which is a full-day music festival that takes place from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. downtown. The show will feature four other musical acts: Jack Symes, Brother Elsey, Temme Scott and Scott T. Smith.
“The groups are close to what we do. Two of them are singer-songwriters and there are two who are a little more rock than us, but pretty much along the same lines, with the harmonies, ”said Devon East, the Oliver Hazard’s electric guitarist. “Bring your lawn chairs, blanket, hat and mask, if you wish. “
The Waterville trio of East, Michael Belazis and Griffin McCulloch are named Oliver Hazard Perry. Perry was an American naval officer who became a national hero after defeating a British squadron in the Battle of Lake Erie in the War of 1812.
The event closes Third Street, with a full performance scene blocking one end of the street. The other end will feature food trucks and beer from Patron Saints Brewing.
“We are looking forward to five different acts from across the country to perform,” said Oliver Hazard pianist McCulloch. “Each will play for about 45 minutes, there will be food trucks and Patron Saints Brewing will brew a special beer for the event called Oliver Hazing.”
By teaming up with Patron Saints Brewery, they created a personalized canned beer that has a scannable QR code that sends the user to their new single, “Fly Right”. All proceeds from the beer will be donated to the Toledo Arts Commission.
The group was busy while the pandemic stopped. They spent their time writing and recording a new album. The single was released digitally on July 29.
“This is our first song on the album and it’s kind of the theme song for the festival this year,” said Michael Belazis, who plays acoustic guitar and is the lead singer.
The group has a new touring model based on living room concerts that took place during the pandemic.
“We created our own touring model, which is called the show tour,” Belazis said. “We have a submission process on our website and people from all over the country, including the world, will submit to have us do a concert in their living room for them and about 50 friends, family and acquaintances.”
He said the shows are more intimate and are reminiscent of the laid back vibe of old cafe shows. One fan suggested the new format.
“It was such a successful event, with everyone listening to the music, and we were able to make sure that all the money we made that night went straight to us, instead of going to a seedy bar owner, ”Belazis said. “The difficulty with playing in bars is that nobody really listens.
“We just wanted to find a way to grab people’s attention and put our music in the right context for listening.”
Visits to the shows allowed them to continue to develop their fan base.
“We kind of ran with it. Since then, we have performed in over a hundred salons, ”Belazis said. “Since the pandemic, it has sort of become an adopted touring model. “
The guys agreed that it works well with the big weekend festivals.
“We are organizing three festivals this summer, in addition to our own. There’s MerleFest, Tuck Fest, and Americana Fest, ”East said.