The 502s bring groovy folk music to UW-Eau Claire

Oliver Hazard joins The 502s for a concert at the Davies Student Center

Maggie OBrien

More stories from Maggie O'Brien

Across the Pond
February 28, 2024

Photo by Charlotte Becker

The band of brothers performing in the Ojibwe Ballroom.

The UW-Eau Claire University Activities Commission hosted a concert for The 502s at the Davies Student Center on Thursday. 

The live performance took place from 7:30-9:30 p.m. on Feb. 16  in the Ojibwe Ballroom at the Davies Student Center. The price to attend the concert was $10 for UW-Eau Claire students, $20 for youth and $25 for the public. 

The 502s were led by Ed Isola, a banjo-playing songwriter and lead vocalist for the band. According to their website, the band’s sound has been described in critical acclaim as celebratory, wholesome and utterly life-affirming.

The 502s expanded their sonic range for their sophomore full-length with a folk orchestra consisting of instruments from strings and xylophones to brass, melodicas, whistles and bells, according to their website.

Opening for The 502s was Oliver Hazard, a trio folk band from Waterville, Ohio. Band members Mike, Griff and Dev wrote and recorded their entire first album in three weeks. 

In their story video, “Welcome to Waterville,” Oliver Hazard says music gave them an opportunity to speak their minds in a place where certain ideas weren’t always accepted.

Student workers were stationed outside of the doors to check attendees’ tickets and mark their hands so they could freely enter and exit the venue. 

Emily Olson, an usher at the concert, said it was really cool to see another bigger show come to UW-Eau Claire. 

“It’s just really nice to see everyone so excited on campus,” Olson said. 

Davies operation manager and building manager for the event, Abby Braaten, said her role for the night was to hang out during the show and ensure things were going the way they should be. 

Braaten said the process of setting up for the concert took place in multiple shifts. 

“We had a shift to do all of the lighting and get everything up in the air,  and then we had a shift for staging and getting all of the mics and audio equipment put together,” Braaten said. 

Braaten said her hope for the concert was for everything to go smoothly, and for the night to be a success for the audio and lighting people. 

“It’s cool that students get to run the audio and lighting for this event,” Braaten said. “I hope that everything goes well for them and they can learn from this event.”

Braaten said it’s mostly students running the audio and lighting boards during the event, after the event services and professional staff help them set the equipment up properly.  

Brenna Strojinc, a second-year student at UW-Eau Claire and concert attendee, said she won tickets to the concert at the Friendly Feud UAC event.

“Our team won, so we picked tickets to the spring concert,” Strojinc said. “We didn’t know what it was at the time, so it was mainly just a chance for all of us to hang out again.”

Strojinc said the group’s main goal for the night was to have a good time and a fun concert experience. 

To hear more of the 502s’  music or browse their merch, visit their website. For more information about Oliver Hazard, check out their story and website.

O’Brien can be reached at [email protected].