Masterton rockers eye national crown

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TOP ACT: Jesse Brown (left) and Jake Schdroski, with (out of shot) Hayden Warren and Zac Emerson, are Vacant City. PHOTO/ANDREW BONALLACK
TOP ACT: Jesse Brown (left) and Jake Schdroski, with (out of shot) Hayden Warren and Zac Emerson, are Vacant City. PHOTO/ANDREW BONALLACK

A Masterton band has the opportunity to join such artists as Brooke Fraser, Bic Runga, The Phoenix Foundation and Lorde's songwriting partner Joel Little in the Smokefreerockquest Hall of Fame.

Young rockers Vacant City, consisting of students from Rathkeale and Wairarapa Colleges, has been selected as one of the Top 30 acts in the 2014 rock quest, putting them in contention for the national final.

The band, which won first prize in the Rock Quest Wairarapa Regional Final in June, was one of 700 acts from throughout New Zealand to enter this year's competition.

Rock Quest founder and director Glenn Common said the Top 30 acts showed real 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. "To make the finals, you need the whole package - songwriting, performance and presentation, which is realistic preparation for a career in music."

The Top 30 acts, which include 10 solo or duo acts, will have DVDs of their performances assessed by a panel of representatives from the New Zealand music industry.

The acts will then be whittled down to six bands and three solo or duo acts, who will perform at the National Smokefreerockquest Final on September 27 in Auckland.

The winner will receive musical gear to the value of $13,000, a $10,000 recording/music video package from NZ on Air and video play on youth music channel FOUR.

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