Dreams of success in the Kiwi music industry are a little closer to reality for 30 Smokefreerockquest bands and solo-duos who have made it through to the next stage in judging for the 2016 national final.

There were just on 700 entries in this year’s only nationwide, original youth music event, with regional finalists sending in their video footage for selection to play off at the national final in Auckland on September 24.

Rockquest Charitable Trust chairman Matt Ealand said it was great to see the spread of finalists across every one of the regions where the event was held this year. And he noted the standard of musical performance keeps going up year by year, as young people are exposed to more music on social media and online.

“This makes it easier for them to emulate singers and bands who already making it on the musical scene – there are now role models not far removed from their own peer group,” he said.

“Just looking at last year’s Smokefreerockquest finalists Eljay Hall’s song Lights On is being heavily played on commerical radio, Ben Mollison is recording an EP and Courtney Hate is making waves on the alternative scene.”

For the 30 on the top 20 list, making it to the Smokefreerockquest finals is the next step on the success ladder. The top 30 is made up of 20 bands and 10 solo-duos, the region given is where they competed.


The top 20 bands are:

Alien Weaponry – Bream Bay College, Northland
O-Boy! – Kaipara College, North Shore
Daffodils – Western Springs College & Kristin School, Auckland
Nui Trio – Manurewa High School, Manukau
Tree Juice – Cambridge High School, Waikato
Half Eaten Pie – Te Awamutu College, Waikato
Made Alive – Whakatane High School & Trident High School, Bay of Plenty
AhJeez – Bethlehem College & Tauranga Boys College, Bay of Plenty
Kurawaka – TKKM O Kawakawa Mai Tawhiti & Gisborne Girls High School, East Coast
Suburban Goons – New Plymouth Boys’ High School, Taranaki
Headlock – Havelock North High School, Hawkes Bay
Why Vibrations – Wanganui High School, Whanganui
Hymns & Her – Dannevirke High School, Manawatu
Retrospect – Onslow College, Wellington
Meraki – Marlborough Boys’ College,  Marlborough
The Hoard – Golden Bay High School, Nelson
Tetra – Nelson College for Girls, Nelson
Fuzhun – Shirley Boys’ High School, Christchurch
Pseudo Sane – Geraldine High School, Timaru
Ceiling – Mt Aspiring College, Central Otago


And the top ten solo/duos are:
Izaia and Huia – Kamo High School & Te Kapehu Whetu-Teina, Northland
Aimee Way – Kaipara College, North Shore
Iris G – Avondale College, Auckland
Two Imbue – Alfriston College, Manukau
Sonatane Kaufusi – Manurewa High School, Manukau
Mia – Taradale High School, Hawkes Bay
Kieran O’Connor – Garin College, Nelson
Cam Dawson – Garin College, Nelson
Keith and Cait – Burnside High School, Christchurch
Levi Dick – James Hargest College, Otago

These 30 bands and solo-duos will be further narrowed down by a panel of judges from the music industry, and on August 1 there will be an announcement of the final five bands and three solo-duos to play off the Raye Freedman Centre at Epsom Girls Grammar on Saturday September 24. The 22 acts not in the final selection then become contenders for the People’s Choice, with the winner of the voting campaign competing as the ninth act in national final.

Smokefreerockquest, powered by Rockshop, has national winners’ prize packages for bands and solo/duo winners that includes $22,000 in Rockshop vouchers, a $20,000 NZ On Air  recording, video and promo package’ a ‘Decent Exposure’ campaign on The Edge TV, a photo shoot and branding package from Imaginary Friends. 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, Smokefree Vocals Award and the Dominate Style Award.

The finalists for Smokefree Pacifica Beats will be announced on 8 August, with the national final for that event, also at the Raye Freedman Centre at Epsom Girls Grammar, on Friday September 23.

For more info on Smokefreerockquest check out their website.