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SMOKEFREEROCKQUEST 2014 - Southland final results

SMOKEFREEROCKQUEST 2014 - Southland final results

Indie-rock band The Veldt were named this year’s Southland winners of Smokefreerockquest at the Civic Theatre, supported by a crowd of 150, on Thursday night.

The newly formed four-piece band from James Hargest College battled it out against nine other bands to come out on top with the coveted first prize. The Veldt’s drummer, Quintin Blaas puts the win down to their musical backgrounds.

“We’ve only been together for about a term… but we’re trained in jazz music so that probably did it for us,” says Blaas. “Our tweed jackets definitely helped too.”

Blaas says that their ability to swap instruments would have given them an edge over the other performers.

The other members of The Veldt are Quintin’s brother, Rhys Blaas (bass guitar), Conor O’Neill (rhythm guitar), and Michael Zhang (keytar).

Second place in the band category went to The Philadelphia Experiment, also from James Hargest College, made up of Jack Shaw (drums), Sean Burrows (bass), Sam Watts (electric guitar), Liam Fairbairn (electric guitar and lead vocals), and Reuben Diack (keyboard). All members also sing.

Khellsey-Anna Atley from Southland Girls’ High School was placed first in the solo/duo section. It was the second consecutive win and third time in the competition for the soloist.
“I kind of knew what to expect from previous years… but it was all new competitors so I wasn’t expecting the win,” says Atley. She hopes to study contemporary music at Otago University next year.

Auxili from James Hargest College placed second in solo/duo. Auxili are David Stupples (acoustic guitar and vocals) and Rose Freeborn (vocals and acoustic guitar).

These four acts win musical gear from associate sponsors NZ Rockshops, and the opportunity to gain selection for the national final at Auckland’s Q Theatre on Saturday 27 September.

Founder and director Glenn Common said from here on the Southland finalists would have to work hard to make the most of the opportunity Smokefreerockquest offered.

“They now send in video footage of their original music that will be judged in August as we lead up to the national final,” he said. “It’s a process that demands creativity and musical ability, as well as learning to work together as a group and developing the organisation skills they’ll need if they're going to make it on the Kiwi music scene.”

The full list of awards made on Thursday night was:
• Band 1st Place: The Veldt from James Hargest College
• Band 2nd Place: The Philadelphia Experiment from James Hargest College
• Solo/Duo 1st Place: Khellsey-Anna Atley from Southland Girls’ High School
• Solo/Duo 2nd Place: Auxili from James Hargest College
• 3rd placed band, winning musical gear from associate sponsor NZ Rockshops and their suppliers: Acetylene from James Hargest College
• APRA Lyric Award: “Out Of Your Hands” by David Stupples and Rose Freeborn of Auxili, from James Hargest College
• Lowdown Best Song: Second Intervention from Verdon College
• The Mainz Musicianship Award with the opportunity to be selected for the $4500 Music and Audio Institute of New Zealand Scholarship, announced at the national final: Quintin Blaas, drummer of The Veldt from James Hargest College
• Smokefree Award For Women’s Musicianship: Khellsey-Anna Atley from Southland Girls’ High School
• People’s Choice voted by text: Prospero from James Hargest College

Smokefreerockquest, powered by Rockshop, has national winners’ prize packages for bands and the solo/duos 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 nation-wide People’s Choice voted by text, with the opportunity to open the SFRQ national final.

Finalist judging process: Two bands from each of the 24 regional finals send in their video footage for selection as one of the six bands to play off in the national final. Judging is done from a pool of 50-60 bands that also includes Rockshop Second Chance, an opening for established bands (playing regular gigs) who don’t feel they played their best on the night. The top two solo/duos from each region go through the same process, and three of them will go ahead to the national final.

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