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UMass CRC hosts Battle of the Bands for 24th Annual Extravaganja

Justin Surgent/Daily Collegian

Justin Surgent/Daily Collegian

Wednesday night, the UMass Cannabis Reform Coalition hosted their yearly Battle of the Bands competition in the Student Union Ballroom to promote the annual music and arts festival “Extravaganja.” The competition was held in part to determine which local musician or group would serve as the festival’s opening act. Amherst’s resident beat-boxer Honeycomb won the battle and will be featured in the festival held on April 12. In addition to Honeycomb, local acts Sexy Girls, L.E. Purpose, Rabbit Foot, Vocal Surgeon and Future Sex Sounds played at the show, which was free and open to students from UMass and other local colleges.

Every year, the CRC holds the Battle of the Bands competition prior to the festival to showcase some of the Five College area bands that missed the cut to play at Extravaganja. First to the stage was Sexy Girls, followed by L.E. Purpose and then Verbal Surgeon. After a short intermission, Rabbit Foot took the stage, followed by Honeycomb. Future Sex Sounds closed the show. At the end of the competition, CRC members voted on their favorite act of the night and Honeycomb was crowned the winner, with Verbal Surgeon coming in second and Rabbit Foot taking third place.

Extravaganja is a free festival held every April for all the music and marijuana lovers of Amherst and across the state. The festival showcases local musicians, artists, speakers and vendors to support the CRC and its mission to “dispel the myths, lies and stigmas surrounding marijuana” and to reform the laws surrounding its use.
While they pride themselves as the “most active and the most chill RSO on campus,” the CRC aims to accomplish two major goals: Legalizing marijuana and ending the drug war. The CRC holds Extravaganja each year to garner support for their cause and showcase the best of the Pioneer Valley’s musicians.

Each year, Amherst residents vote for their favorite bands to play the festival, which makes the event more community-oriented. Bands of all genres can sign up for a chance to play on the CRC’s website, where voters can read the list of bands, listen to some of their music and choose their favorites. Last year’s featured festival bands were Deadfish, The Sun Parade, Down Beat Keys, The Mary Jane Jones and BootyStank. The all-female funk band Who’da Funk It? won the Battle of the Bands last year and was given the opportunity to open Extravaganja.

“We were very honored to play last year at this event because it is such an important part of this community,” said Bess Hepner, the guitarist of Who’da Funk It?. “Participating in Extravaganja was a way to give back to the community we grew up in and gain more fans from all the people coming out for the event.”

Now in its 24th year, Extravaganja has gained a loyal following and is sure to be a great experience for festival-goers and musicians alike. The event is set to take place on Saturday, April 12 in downtown Amherst. For more information on the Battle of the Bands, Extravaganja or the CRC, please visit UMassCRC.com or Facebook.com/UMassCRC.

Sarah Robertson can be reached at srobertson@umass.edu.

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