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2015 Smokefreerockquest Finalists Announced

2015 Smokefreerockquest Finalists Announced

The top nine Smokefreerockquest national finalists were announced today, the crème of the 700 bands and solo/duos who entered the nationwide youth music contest this year.

Contenders have played off in heats and finals held in 23 regions, vying for the chance to take the big prizes at the national final in Auckland onSeptember 11.

Judges from the music industry today named the top six bands and three solo/duos, selected from DVDs submitted since the regional finals. The judges were Rockshop Promotions Manager Hamish Jackson, Jane de Dong (aka performer Ruby Frost), Chris Mack from Six60 and Edge TV Station Manager Damien Daniels.

Spokesman Damien Daniels said it was really quite intimidating to see such a high level of talent from such young people, and heart-breaking not to let all of them through to the final.

“The real standout was the high level of musicianship from people of this age,” he said. “That, and the diversity that there is now in New Zealand music. We may be small but we’re quite eclectic – the finalists range from metal band Alien Weaponry, the Brit-pop sound of Joe Says No, there’s the psychedalic rock band Joe’s Van and then Reciprocate with a soul upbeat funk sound.”

The top six bands are:
Alien Weaponry Bream Bay College, Otamatea High School, Northland
Courtney Hate Green Bay High School, Auckland
Joe Says No Mt Albert Grammar School, Auckland Grammar
The Big Gus Green Bay High School, Auckland
Reciprocate Alfriston College, Auckland
Joe's Van Mt Maunganui College

And the top three solo/duos are:
Solomon the Crook St Peter's School, Cambridge
Ben Mollison Bethlehem College, Tauranga
Joseph Balfe Waitaki Boys' High School

The judges also named some acts as highly commended, though they will not be going through to the final. These are (bands): Tetra, Nelson College for Girls; Future Class, Garin College, Nelson; Forlorn Bloom, Hagley Community College, Christchurch; Altero , Lincoln High School, Canterbury; and (solo/duo) Situation Vacant, Hamilton Boys' High School and Hamilton Girls' High School; and Talia Dalton, Otumoetai College, Tauranga.

There is still a chance for one of the top 30 acts to get through to the final as the People’s Choice winner, selected from the 21 acts who were in the top 30, but not in the top nine. Voting will open next Wednesday, with the text number to be announced on Facebook on Tuesday night.

The national final of Smokefreerockquest is at the Raye Freedman Centre at Epsom Girls Grammar on Friday September 11, start time 7pm. Tickets will be offered first to the fans and families of the finalists and will then be available from, $20 plus booking fee.

Smokefreerockquest, powered by Rockshop, has national winners’ prize packages for bands and the solo/duo winners that include $22,000 in Rockshop vouchers, a $20,000 NZ On Air recording, video and promo package’ a ‘Decent Exposure’ campaign on FOUR, a photo shoot with Thievery Studio, a branding package from Imaginary Friends and the Unleashed Travel ambassador award – a seven day trip to Fiji.
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 and the Smokefree Women’s Musicianship Award. The People’s Choice award is voted by text with the opportunity to open the Smokefreerockquest national final.

The finalists for Smokefree Pacifica Beats will be announced on 10 August, with the national final for that event, also at the Raye Freedman Centre at Epsom Girls Grammar, on Saturday September 12.

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