Fierce battle for finals

By Kiri Gillespie

For young aspiring musicians there is only one event of the year that matters - Smokefreerockquest.

Bands from Tauranga, Whakatane and Opotiki battled for a place in the competition's regional finals at Baycourt Theatre yesterday.

Original Sin bassist Luke Alderson said he had looked forward to the annual event.

"You want to do really well and you want to just set yourself up for the future opportunities, so this is pretty significant," the Year 13 student said.

Luke said he was the "newbie" in the Tauranga Boys' College band, having played in a different band last year.

Lead singer Finn Martin said he hoped Original Sin would do well this time "but we do realise rockquest, even if you don't win, it's a good experience".

"Even though we didn't win the regional final [last year], we still managed to get exposure and play a few gigs. Just because you don't get through, there's still so many other opportunities."

Smokefreerockquest is New Zealand's only all original youth music competition and this year is its 25th anniversary.

The regional heats run every weekend until July 13, then the top regional bands and solo/duos submit videos to be selected for the national finals in Auckland in September.

Organisers introduced two rockquest categories this year - solo and band - instead of just one overall category.

Winners' prize packages include recording of their single, radio and television play of the single, and musical gear worth $13,000.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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