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Two Otago secondary school rock bands have been selected among the top 30 acts nationally to thrash it out in the final of the 2014 Smokefreerockquest.
Mt Aspiring College band Oddity made the selection process after winning second place and the best song award at the Central Otago Smokefreerockquest in Wanaka in July.
And Otago Boys' High School alternative rock four-piece Chandeliers was selected after winning the Otago finals in Dunedin, in June.
They were among contenders from 23 regions who sent in DVDs of their performances, for selection to compete at the national final in Auckland on September 27.
Smokefreerockquest founder and director Glenn Common said selecting the national finalists presented the usual challenge, with a very high level of expertise in all areas of musicality.
''What we see at this level highlights that there's a lot more to Smokefreerockquest than just writing a song,'' he said.
''This event emphasises the whole package - songwriting, performance and presentation, which is realistic preparation for making a career in the music industry.''
Last year, Smokefreerockquest introduced a category for solo-duo performers; and the top 30 list is made up of 20 bands and 10 solo-duos.
The 30 acts would be narrowed down music industry judges.
The final six bands and three solo-duos to play off at Auckland's Q Theatre will be announced on August 15.
Prize packages include musical gear to the value of $13,000, a $10,000 recording/music video package from NZonAir, and radio promotional support and video play on youth music channel FOUR.
Mr Common said Smokefreerockquest aimed to motivate young musicians to prove their ability and realise their goals in their music careers, and to encourage their peers to support 100% original New Zealand music.