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Smokefreerockquest & Smokefree Pacifica Beats 2014

Smokefreerockquest & Smokefree Pacifica Beats 2014 – call for entrants is on

Out of the classroom and onto the stage – it’s the big motivational promise that Smokefreerockquest has been offering to young Kiwi musos for the last 26 years, matched for the last decade by its ‘sister’ event Smokefree Pacifica Beats.

With the current success of soloists Lorde, Aradnha and Kimbra, and bands such as Shapeshifter and Broods, founders and directors Pete Rainey and Glenn Common say motivation has never run higher.

“People might assume that kids just need to practice a song – but there’s a lot more to it than that,” Common said. “Teachers really value the motivation that playing live on a real stage provides, as kids work through the preparation that is linked to NCEA unit standards.”

Rainey adds that SFRQ and SFPB are the crossover between the classroom and the stage. “The events are like the practical exam and many teachers use them as an assessment tool,” he says. “Entrants have to rehearse, show commitment and work to a deadline, but it’s exciting rather than traumatic.”

SFPB organiser Elena Lome says mentoring also plays a big part in the students’ journey, contributing to their motivation, skill and confidence.

“Smokefree Pacifica Beats provides a creative platform for our youth to express themselves through their music and performance,” she says. “This motivates them to stay focused, remain in school and achieve their goals within the competition and in life.”

And the events are not just about performing on stage. Pete and Glenn say there is now a huge and growing family of young people who have gone through SFRQ and SFPB, gained skills and confidence and are now using those in their careers, which range from performing and writing, teaching, working in music production, promotion, journalism, radio, television and graphic design.

Entries for both events close on Thursday May 8. SFRQ 2014 launches on May 15 with an event in Southland. SFPB’s first event is May 24 in Canterbury and over the next two months heats and finals are held in 23 regions around the country, culminating with the national final of Smokefree Pacifica Beats on Friday 26 September and Smokefreerockquest on Saturday 27 September in Auckland.

Last year a category for solo/duo acts was introduced, with a separate event held for them in Auckland. There will also be solo/duo events in Wellington and Canterbury regions if entries warrant them. In all regions the top two solo/duos will be selected at the heats. They will play off at the regional finals for first place, and will both go into the judging pool for the national final.

The regional events run until 2 August, then the top regional bands and solo/duos submit videos for selection as national finalists. Smokefreerockquest, powered by Rockshop, has national winners’ prize packages for bands and the solo/duo winners, that include musical gear to a total value of $13,000 from NZ Rockshops and their suppliers, inclusion on the NZ On Air Kiwi Hit Disc, radio promotional support, and video play on youth music channel FOUR. There is also the MAINZ (Music and Audio Institute of New Zealand)Scholarship for outstanding musicianship, the APRA (Australasian Performing Right Association) Lyric Award, the Lowdown Best Song Award, the Smokefree Women’s Musicianship Award and the People’s Choice voted by text with the opportunity to open the SFRQ National final.

The top six Smokefree Pacifica Beats finalists are invited to Auckland for a weekend of music, friendship, mentoring and culture at the noho marae (band camp) held at Horotiu Marae, AUT (Auckland University of Technology).
The SFPB national winners’ prize package includes musical gear to a total value of $3,000 from NZ Rockshops and their suppliers, a $10,000 song and video package from NZ On Air and performance spots at the 2015 Raggamuffin and Pasifika Festivals.

There is also musical equipment from NZ Rockshops, the MAINZ Scholarship for outstanding musicianship, the APRA Songwriters Award, the Native Language Award, the Smokefree Mana Wahine Award, the Stage Image Award and the Smokefree Best Vocals Award.

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