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Smokefreerockquest 2018 West Coast final results

Smokefreerockquest 2018 West Coast final results

Three-piece rock band The Impaired from Buller High School took out first place at this year’s West Coast regional Smokefreerockquest at the NBS Theatre in Westport on Friday night.

Lead guitarist and vocalist Lockie Skilton says the band set out with the intention to win, but after hearing the other bands didn’t like their chances, so were very surprised to take first place.

Lockie writes the band’s songs, which are about drugs and addiction - he says these are issues that need to be addressed and he can use music to ‘speak that message’. During their first song the electrics on Lockie’s guitar cut out but he continued with his vocals.

“We are trying to bring back rock with a more mature spin to it,” he says. “It’s the sweet spot between heavy and punk and our tone stands out.”

The full line up of The Impaired is Lockie Skilton (guitar & vocals), Declan Ginley (drums) and Charli Blom (bass).

Second place in the band category went to S.P.E.K. from Reefton Area School, whose members are Kio D'Unieville (guitar), Koveli Tueni (vocals), Edwin Tueni (drums) and John Filipo (bass). S.P.E.K. also impressed the judges with the cultural elements of their performance to take the Smokefree Tangata Beats Award; while Edwin Tueni won the MAINZ Musicianship Award with the opportunity to win a scholarship to study at MAINZ.

The solo-duo winner for the West Coast was singer-songwriter Meg Theron from Greymouth High School. Meg also won the Smokefree Best Vocals Award and the ZM People’s Choice, voted by text on the night. Second place went to Remy Berry from Buller High School who also won the Fatboy Style Award.

These four acts win musical gear from associate sponsors NZ Rockshops, and have the opportunity to gain selection for the national final in September. S.P.E.K. also go into the judging pool for selection as national finalists in Smokefree Tangata Beats.

Smokefreerockquest Founder and director Glenn Common says there are more bands than ever before reaching the high standard required from national finalists.

“This means that real dedication is required to achieve the ‘stand out quality’ that the judges will be looking for,” he said. “They have to capture 15 minutes of their original material on video for selection as national finalists. It’s a process that demands creativity and musical ability, being able to work together as a group and having good organisational skills. What separates them out is perseverance – industry success seldom happens overnight.”

The top regional bands and solo/duos submit footage for selection as finalists to play off at the Smokefreerockquest national final on Saturday September 22 at the Dorothy Winstone Centre in Auckland, preceded by the Smokefree Tangata Beats national final on Friday September 21.

The full list of awards for the West Coast is:
Band 1: The Impaired, Buller High School
Band 2: S.P.E.K., Reefton Area School
Band 3: Stuffed Avocados, Reefton Area School
Solo/Duo 1: Meg Theron, Greymouth High School
Solo/Duo 2: Remy Berry, Buller High School
Solo/Duo 3: Jack Bolton, Reefton Area School
ZM People’s Choice: Meg Theron, Greymouth High School
Smokefree Tangata Beats Award: S.P.E.K., Reefton Area School
Smokefree Best Vocals: Meg Theron, Greymouth High School
MAINZ Musicianship: Edwin Tueni (drums), S.P.E.K., Reefton Area School
Best Song: Jack Bolton, Reefton Area School
Fatboy Style Award: Remy Berry, Buller High School
APRA Lyric Writers’ Award: Stevie Briggs, Stuffed Avocados, Reefton Area School

The live events started on May 5 and the West Coast event was the last of 35 right around the country, with most regions also being filmed for the hugely popular SFRQ webisodes (, fronted this year by NZ’s ‘First Bloke’ Clarke Gayford.

Smokefreerockquest, powered by Rockshop, has national winners’ prize packages for bands and solo/duo winners that includes $22,000 in Rockshop vouchers, $16,000 NZ On Air recording, video and promo package, a photo shoot and branding package from Imaginary Friends. There is also the Musicianship Award, the APRA (Australasian Performing Right Association) Lyric Award, Best Song Award, Smokefree Vocals Award, Fatboy Style Award, and the ZM People’s Choice.

Musical successes from Smokefreerockquest over its 30-year history include Broods, Leroy Clampitt, Kimbra, Aaradhna, Opshop, Evermore, Ladyhawke, Kids of 88, Die!Die!Die!, Joel Little, Tiny Ruins, Marlon Williams, Brooke Fraser, Anika Moa, Chelsea Jade, Nadia Reid, Aldous Harding, Steriogram, Phoenix Foundation, Devilskin, The Black Seeds, Bic Runga, and The Naked and Famous. Smokefree Tangata Beats standout successes include Alien Weaponry, Strangely Arousing Nesian Mystik, the only New Zealand band to ever have ten singles all certified gold or platinum.

Rockquest Promotions: In 1989 Glenn Common and Pete Rainey picked up a radio station school music contest in Christchurch. The event went nationwide in 1990, and in ’91 Smokefree became the main sponsor. SFRQ founders Glenn and Pete were honoured with the MNZM for Services to Music in 2013, and continue to lead the team that now runs this New Zealand institution, from offices in Nelson and Auckland. From 2018 Rockquest Promotions is also producing the dance and drama event Showquest in ten regions. For more information visit

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