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Smokefreerockquest 2018 Waikato final results


Hamilton Boys' High School and St Peter's School band casper took out first place at this year’s Waikato Smokefreerockquest final at Zeal on Saturday night.

The mellow indie rock band has only been together for a few months but they say similar taste in music made practicing and writing a breeze. Bassist and vocalist George Roberts says being authentic is the most important aspect of entering the competition.

"Know what you want to do, because the judges aren't looking for one specific rock band," says the 15-year-old songwriter. "They're looking for what you're interested in, so just stick to that."

The band is made up of George Barney Roberts on bass and vocals, George Woolston on guitar and vocals, Arjun Duggal on guitar, and Jett Scott drums.

Second place in the band category went to Betend Rocket from Cambridge High School, an alt-surf pop band made up of Ben Cooper on lead guitar, Connor Quickfall on drums, Josh Bam on lead vocals and guitar, and Keenan Tuwhangai on bass.

These two acts win musical gear from associate sponsors NZ Rockshops, and join solo-duo winners for Waikato Niamh Athy from Waikato Diocesan School for Girls (first) and Naamah Cheiban from Hauraki Plains College (second) in the opportunity to gain selection for the national final in September.

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.”

And Common encouraged those who didn’t make it through to stick with their music.

“Some bands and soloists will no doubt go on to success in the Kiwi music industry like SFRQ alumnae Kimbra, Marlon Williams and Shapeshifter, but for most of the young musicians SFRQ is about the experience of performing live on stage in a professional set up, meeting others who share their passion for music, and getting constructive and impartial feedback from more experienced musicians who are our judges and mentors.”

The full list of awards for Waikato is:

Band 1: casper, Hamilton Boys' High School and St Peter's School

Band 2: Betend Rocket, Cambridge High School

Band 3: Suggested Serving Size, Te Awamutu College

Solo/Duo 1: Naamah Cheiban, Hauraki Plains College

Solo/Duo 2: Niamh Athy, Waikato Diocesan School for Girls

Smokefree Tangata Beats Award: Fairfield College Singers, Fairfield College.

ZM People’s Choice: Pacific Meadow, St Paul's Collegiate

Smokefree Best Vocals: Sinaea Hull-Hobman of Static, Hillcrest High School

MAINZ Musicianship: Angus Hampton-Carr of Drummer By Tuesday, Hamilton Boys' High

School and Michael Park School

Best Song: casper, Hamilton Boys' High School and St Peter's School

Fatboy Style Award: Metro Avenue, Hamilton Boys' High School, Fraser High School and Hamilton Girls' High

APRA Lyric Writers’ Award: Myshann Komene of Metro Avenue, Hamilton Boys' High and Fraser High School and Hamilton Girls' High School.

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 live events run from May 5 until July 6, and most regions will also be 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.


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