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Finals Fest features trio of Twin Cities musical acts

April 25, 2014

Davina and the Vagabonds
Davina Sowers leads the band Davina and the Vagabonds, which will be among three acts performing for the May 9 Finals Fest. (Photo by Christie Williams)

The annual Finals Fest at UW-River Falls will be on May 9 and the Office of Student Life is bringing in three musical groups from the Twin Cities.

Taj Raj, Davina and the Vagabonds, and Heiruspecs will all take to the Melvin Wall Amphitheatre starting at 7 p.m.

According to Director of Student Life Paul Shepherd, UWRF has held Finals Fest since 2006.

“It’s an event that people really look forward as a way to cap off the year in a fun and exciting way; highlighting music and creating a festival-type atmosphere on campus,” Shepherd said.

Student Life rotates the size of the musical acts it brings to UWRF; since Phillip Phillips, a national act, was set to perform at last year’s Finals Fest, student workers and other Student Life employees worked to get smaller, quality acts from the Twin Cities region for this year’s Finals Fest.

In 2012, Cloud Cult was the headlining act and in 2011, Jason Derulo came to campus right before his album exploded in popularity.

“We’re certainly lucky to be near the Twin Cities where we can highlight local musicians from the Twin Cities area and expand their audience this side of the river,” Shepherd said.

Anna Hunter, the student organizations and leadership coordinator in Student Life, said that Taj Raj, Davina and the Vagabonds and Heiruspecs are all three distinct genres.

“They all have their own unique sound,” Hunter said. “We’re hoping that will cater to a large variety of students on campus and larger audience.”

Hunter said that all three acts have very unique sounds that are difficult to categorize.

Taj Raj, the first opener, is a mix of pop, punk and country, according to Hunter.

“They have a unique sound that is kind of familiar at the same time,” Hunter said.

Most of Taj Raj’s recordings are done around Hudson, Wis.

The next opener is Davina and the Vagabonds, a theatrical group with a bluesy and jazzy sound.

“I would say that they have more of a focused, clean sound which really kind of emphasizes their acoustic instruments,” Hunter said.

The Heiruspecs are the headline act for Finals Fest. The group became nationally known for their 2002 album “Small Steps,” according to Hunter.

Heiruspecs started out at St. Paul Central High School, and it is a hip-hop group.

In case of rain, Finals Fest will be moved indoors to the Falcon’s Nest in the University Center. There will be food and beverages for sale at Finals Fest starting at 5 p.m. on May 9. Music will start at 7 p.m.