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Heats start in May - and that's NZ Music Month

Heats start in May - and that's NZ Music Month.

Preview SFRQ release: Making a career out of contemporary music is now a realistic objective for secondary students, thanks to the healthy state of the New Zealand music industry, fuelled each year by a fresh batch of talent from Smokefreerockquest.

Last year¹s winner, the quirky Auckland retro band Electric Confectionaires played at the Big Day Out and are in negotiation with a major record label - well on their way to becoming the latest in the 18 year history of Smokefreerockquest success stories that range from Bic Runga to Evermore.

Right now entry forms are out in every secondary school in New Zealand and entries are coming in to the Smokefreerockquest headquarters in Nelson. Director Glenn Common says the competition attracts over 600 bands every year, and has is a major talent feeder for the New Zealand music industry.

³In its 18th year this event has won respect and credibility in the industry and in schools for its record of turning out not just performers, but also songwriters,² he said. ³The environment is far more supportive for young contemporary musicians than it ever has been - they can study their own kind of music in the classroom, go on stage to perform in Smokefreerockquest and quite realistically expect to be noticed by the industry.²

Director Pete Rainey says the Smokefreerockquest success formula is based on the fact that young people¹s desire to perform music is simply irrepressible.

³Kids have been forming bands forever but it still takes guts to get out of your garage and go onstage to play your own songs,² he says. ³Right through the winter Smokefreerockquest will again offer this opportunity in around 40 halls and theatres in towns from Invercargill to Whangarei. That means the contest will air around 1000 new New Zealand songs - it¹s original music that makes this event stand out from other youth music competitions that are based on playing covers.²

Smokefree youth communications manager Heidi Flaxman says the sponsorship is a perfect fit with the Smokefree message: ³After 16 years with this event we know it works for us by making it normal for young people to link having a great time at Smokefreerockquest with being smoke free.

There are prizes of musical equipment to the value of $10,000 for the winning band as well as having a disc and video cut with guaranteed airplay. Other awards reinforce the key Smokefreerockquest aim of encouraging students to write and perform their own music. Individual prizes are awarded for best lyrics, best vocals, women¹s musicianship and the best song. A scholarship to the Tai Poutini contemporary music course is also awarded, along with selected bands being matched with past successes in a mentoring programme supported by the Ministry of Education. This year there are new media awards, The Rip It Up Journalism Award for fledgling music writers and the Tearaway photo award.

The first heats of Smokefreerockquest 06 will be held on the weekend of May 5th in Timaru and Otago followed by concerts every Friday and Saturday night, in the lead up to the National Finals at the Bruce Mason Centre in Auckland on October 7th.

Information and entry packs are available from schools and from NZ Rockshop or from the website www.theset.co.nz . Entries need to be returned by May 1st.

ENDS

Two pages follow with contacts, dates and general info. For more details please contact:

Jacquetta Bell Glenn Common & Pete Rainey Heidi Flaxman Nelson Media Agency Rockquest Promotions Ltd. Health Sponsorship Council 03 5469661 03 545 6574 04 472 5777 027 249 1206 021 744 536

About Smokefree Smokefree exists to encourage New Zealanders to adopt and maintain healthy attitudes and lifestyles and is a major supporter of key annual youth events at a national level. Events including Smokefreerockquest and Smokefree Pacifica Beats are backed by Smokefree, ensuring that the positive Smokefree message reaches young people in their environment.

About Smokefreerockquest Smokefreerockquest is the biggest and most influential nation-wide youth event held in New Zealand, attracting audience numbers in excess of 100,000 every year. Founded by music teachers Glenn Common and Pete Rainey in 1988 (now running Rockquest Promotions full time out of Nelson), it has become a New Zealand institution. Bands including The Datsuns, Anika Moa, Steriogram, Tadpole, the feelers, The Blackseeds, Nesian Mystic, Bic Runga, Fur Patrol, Betchadupa, King Kapisi, Zed and The Have all participated in the event during its 18-year history. SmokefreeRockquest aims to motivate young musicians to prove their ability and realise the heights they can reach in their music careers, and encourage their peers to support 100% original New Zealand music. For more information visit www.theset.co.nz or email help@smokefreerockquest.co.nz

Smokefreerockquest Dates for 2006

Fri 5 May Timaru Heats (if needed) Sat 6 May Otago Heats East Coast Heats Sun 7 May Southland Heats Hawkes Bay Heats

Fri 12 May Otago Final East Coast Final Sat 13 May Timaru Final Bay Of Plenty Heats Sun 14 May Rotorua Heats(if needed)

Fri 19 May Southland Final Sat 20 May Canterbury Heats Hawkes Bay Final Sun 21 May Canterbury Heats Waikato Heats

Sun 28 May Nelson Heats

Fri 2 June Canterbury Final Waikato Final

Fri 9 June Bay Of Plenty Final Sat 10 June Manawatu Heats Sun 11 June Wanganui Heats Northland Heats

Fri 16 June Nelson Final Rotorua Final Sat 17 June West Coast Heats (if Needed) Manukau Heats Sun 18 June North Shore Heats

Sat 24 June Manawatu Final Northland Final Sun 25 June Hutt & Wgtn Heats West Ak Heats

Fri 30 June West Coast Final Masterton Final

Sat 15 July Wanaka Final

Fri 21 July Hutt Final Manukau Final Sat 22 July Taranaki Heats AK Heats Sun 23 July AK East Heats

Fri 28 July Wellington Final Nth Shore Final Sat 29 July West AK Final

Fri 4 August Ak Cent Final Sat 5 August Taranaki Final AK East Final

Sat 12 August Wanganui Final

Sat 7 Oct National Final North Shore

ENDS

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