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Smokefreerockquest national finalists announced

Smokefreerockquest national finalists announced

New Zealand’s eight top high school bands have been selected to play off in this year’s Smokefreerockquest national final at Founders Theatre in Hamilton on September 22.

The selection was made from the videos sent in by the top 20 bands (announced last week) by judges Petrina George from APRA, Jeff Newton from NZ on Air and Jaden Parkes from Sony Music.

The judges said the standard was high, and while they were unanimous about the top five, it was harder to decide who should take the last three places.

Jeff Newton, Broadcast Promotions Executive, NZ on Air said everyone had compelling reasons to go through and it came down to looking at the complete package.

“I wasn’t really surprised at the depth of talent of the kids as Smokefreerockquest has a good pedigree when you consider who has come through the competition over the years – people like Jesse Sheehan, Anna Mac, Jason Kerrison, Anika Moa and so on,” he said. “I believe all the musicians have a strong future ahead and I look forward to seeing their names coming before NZ on Air for support.”

Jaden Parkes, Sony Music’s head of A&R and local artist marketing manager said the bands that made the grade are more organic.

“It’s music that seemed as if it was a natural progression from learning guitar, writing music, practicing and jamming,” he said. “I was looking for the strength of the song writing – for artists to go on and have a career outside this competition having well written songs is a big part of it.”

The eight national finalists are:

• Luke and Amberly, Kamo High School, Whangarei
• Indi, ACG Senior College, Auckland
• Intone, Glendowie College, Auckland
• Sunday Best, St. Peter’s School, Cambridge
• Noriac, Francis Douglas Memorial College, New Plymouth
• A Bit Nigel, Taupo-Nui-A-Tia College, Taupo
• Culture Kids, Wanganui High School & Wanganui City College
• New Vinyl, Nelson College

The national final is at Founders Theatre in Hamilton, guest acts are electro pop band Zowie (MTV Iggy Best New Band of 2011) and Auckland punk three-piece The Jury and the Saints. Tickets are $10, doors open at 6.30pm for a 7pm start.

Fans can get to Hamilton for the show by going to and voting for their favourite ex-Smokefreerockquest competitor from names such as Kimbra, Brooke Fraser and Opshop to win flights, accommodation and VIP tickets.

And the Skinny People's Choice winners from all of the 25 regional finals are drumming up support to be flown to Hamilton to be the opening guest band at the final. Txt your favourite Skinny People’s Choice regional winner’s band name to 5678, more info at

Smokefreerockquest powered by Rockshop, has a prize package that includes musical gear to the value of $10,000 from NZ Rockshops and their suppliers, a NZ On Air new recording and music video grant worth over $10,000, a place on the NZ On Air Kiwi Hit Disc, a radio promotional support for a single, and video play on youth music channel FOUR. There is also the MAINZ Scholarship for outstanding musicianship, the APRA Lyric Award, the Lowdown Best Song Award, the Smokefree Women’s Musicianship Award and the Skinny People’s Choice, voted by text.

To find out more about Smokefreerockquest 2012, visit the official website

Smokefreerockquest – 24 years of musical success
Smokefreerockquest is New Zealand’s only nationwide, live, original music, youth event. Now well into its third decade, the series of over 40 events reaches audiences from Whangarei to Invercargill. Founded in 1988 by music teachers Glenn Common and Pete Rainey, who now run Rockquest Promotions full time out of Nelson, Smokefreerockquest has become a New Zealand institution.
Smokefreerockquest 2012 powered by Rockshop aims to motivate young musicians to prove their ability and realise the heights they can reach in their music careers, and to encourage their peers to support 100% original New Zealand music. For more information visit

Hall of Fame
Musical successes from Smokefreerockquest over its 24-year history include Kimbra, Midnight Youth, Opshop, Evermore, Ladyhawke, Minuit, Kids of 88, Die!Die!Die!, Pistol Youth, Annah Mac, Bang!Bang!Eche!, Ivy Lies, Cairo Knife Fight, Cut Off Your Hands, Luke Thompson, the Datsuns, Brooke Fraser, Anika Moa, Anna Coddington, The Electric Confectionaires, Steriogram, Aaradhna, Spacifix, Phoenix Foundation, The Feelers, The Black Seeds, Nesian Mystik, Bic Runga, The Checks, Julia Deans, Pine, King Kapisi, Kingston, The Naked and Famous, Autozamm and Elemeno P.

Smokefree’s Smoking Not Our Future Campaign
Research from HSC shows that 94 percent of all young people have seen the Smoking Not OurFuture initiative and that Smokefreerockquest plays a large part in getting its key messages and its celebrities in front of young people. Smokefree has been the naming rights sponsor of Smokefreerockquest for 22 of its 24 years and this longstanding partnership between the two agencies has been mutually beneficial. Smokefree is able to deliver its messages to large numbers of secondary school students attending the regional events. While participants in the event are provided with connections to their schools and communities and develop skills and aspirations, which will help create the future musical stars of New Zealand. For more information visit


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