Smokefreerockquest heats begin

Debatable Thesis, the Bys, 21 SEVEN, Flat Passengers, Jimmy and the Stale Fingers, the Baby and Three 9ths.

One wonders at the inspiration behind these secondary school band names.

But if they strike the right chords with judges at the 2014 Smokefreerockquest, no-one will care because they could become the hottest new sounds on the Kiwi music scene.

They are among the 25 Otago soloists, duos and bands preparing for heats that begin today at the King's and Queen's Performing Arts Centre in Dunedin.

Now in its 26th year, the nationwide, live, all-original youth music competition is expecting to put about 3000 young people through regional heats and finals in 24 towns, from Invercargill to Kerikeri.

Smokefreerockquest founder and director Glenn Common said for many of the entrants, this would be their first time on stage in front of an audience.

''When you're in front of an audience, you get an immediate response. It's a two-way exchange of energy and it's even more personal when you're playing your own songs.

''Audience reaction may cause some bands to falter, but others may play better than they ever thought they could.

''That's the value of what Smokefreerockquest offers. It's a live experience as opposed to putting a video clip up on the internet,'' he said.

The top 10 bands and two soloist/duos will be selected at the heats to contest the Otago final at Sammy's on June 7.

The top regional bands and soloist/duos will then submit video footage for selection as one of six bands and three soloist/duos to play off at the national final at Auckland's Q Theatre on September 27.

All bands are fighting for the national final prize packages, which include musical gear to the value of $13,000, inclusion on the NZ On Air Kiwi Hit Disc, radio promotional support, and video play on youth music channel Four.

There is also the Music and Audio Institute of New Zealand Scholarship for outstanding musicianship, the Australasian Performing Right Association Lyric Award, the Lowdown Best Song Award, the Smokefree Women's Musicianship Award and the People's Choice, voted by text.

Finding fame
Smokefreerockquest previous contestants include. - Kimbra, Midnight Youth, Aaradhna, Opshop, Evermore, Ladyhawke, Annah Mac, Die!Die!Die!, Brooke Fraser, Anika Moa, the Feelers, the Black Seeds, Nesian Mystik, Bic Runga and Elemeno P.


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