Setback can't stop the music

Although disappointed about the Smokefreerockquest national final’s cancellation, The Pills band...
Although disappointed about the Smokefreerockquest national final’s cancellation, The Pills band members (front from left) Adam Devon (17), Seth Sinclair (18) and Ethan Downing (17), and (back) Fergus Armour (17) are grateful for their experience with the competition. PHOTO: RUBY HEYWARD
High note falls flat. That sums up how Oamaru band The Pills feel after the Smokefreerockquest national final was cancelled at the beginning of the month.

The Pills - made up of Ethan Downing (electric guitar, lead), Fergus Armour (electric guitar, rhythm), Seth Sinclair (drums), and Adam Devon (bass) - secured their place at the national final in Auckland, after winning the regional competition in Timaru and qualifying in a subsequent round of submissions earlier this year.

Making it to the top 10 made them feel like ‘‘we can actually do this’’, Adam said.

The final was scheduled for last month, but was postponed as Auckland entered lockdown.

The new plan had been for finalist acts to be filmed for a Level 2, no-audience final, which would have been livestreamed.

Smokefreerockquest organisers announced the final was cancelled at the start of this month, stating ‘‘there was no longer a way to hold fair, safe and meaningful’’ final under current Covid-19 restrictions.

The St Kevin’s College pupils found out after a performance at school, which was professionally recorded as part of rockquest’s ‘‘hometown’’ webisodes.

Though disappointed, Ethan said many other events had met the same fate and were in the ‘‘same boat’’.

If the finals went ahead, winners of the band category would have received $10,000 in musical equipment from Rockshop and recording opportunities with NZ on Air.

They were not walking away empty-handed - each finalist would receive a gift pack and have their original music recorded, as planned for the final.

‘‘I guess the positive is everyone that got into the finals will get something out of it,’’ Seth said.

‘‘It was all a great experience even though it was cut short.’’

‘‘We are not just stuck with a sour feeling,’’ Ethan said.

Next year the four would keep making music and had scheduled concerts in the Waitaki district.

They were working to release new music soon and would play at Scotts Brewing Co on Saturday at Scotts Brewing Co in Oamaru, from 2pm-5pm.


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