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Smokefreerockquest entries pushed to just on 600

17 July 2006

Smokefreerockquest entries pushed to just on 600

Media Release

Thirty bands from Nelson-Marlborough have helped push this year's Smokefreerockquest entries to just on 600 - a record in the 18 years of the high school music competition. Director Pete Rainey puts this down to the growing strength of the New Zealand music industry Smokefreerockquest¹s role as a recognized pathway to a successful music career.

And as usual there are some very creative names on the list of entrants, including Self Appointed Kings of Sarcasm, Little Black Dress and A Maniac¹s Guide to Collection and Storage. Coming up with a name is just the start of it - or sometimes the finish! "Some bands leave it Œtil the day of the heats to come up with a name," Rainey said.

"Entering this event is demanding - it teaches kids a whole range of skills from writing a song through to getting along with each other and negotiating with their teachers and parents. It's the basis for success in the New Zealand music industry - as many of our winners have shown."

Nelson's Smokefreerockquest heats will be held at the Nelson School of Music on Sunday May 28th starting at 12 noon. Rainey said in the 24 towns around New Zealand where Smokefreerockquest events are held the heats represent a very positive slice of slice of 21st century New Zealand culture.

"You see grandparents, little kids, mums and dads, teachers and principals, older brothers who've been through the event themselves. It is fantastic to see the support that families and schools give to kids playing contemporary music - and inspirational to see the young musicians rise to the challenge."

At the heats 14 bands are selected to go ahead to the regional finals. The Nelson finals are on Friday 16th June at the Trafalgar Centre, tickets are $20 from Everyman. Two bands selected at this event go into the selection process for the national finalists, which involves completing set talks including making a 15 minute video of original material. At the national level 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, women's 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 National Finals of Smokefreerockquest will be held this year at the Bruce Mason Centre in Auckland on October 7th. Information is available from schools and from NZ Rockshop or from the website www.theset.co.nz.

ENDS


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