Youth rock quest toasts 27th year

The Smokefreerockquest and Smokefree Pacifica Beats finals will be an away game for any Wairarapa college acts that make it through the heats this year.

A field of 27 bands, duos and soloists - including seven acts from Wairarapa - joined battle at the 2016 Smokefreerockquest Manawatu Regional Heats at the Globe Theatre in Palmerston North last night.

The Wairarapa acts include adjacent luminescent from Kuranui College and Ekin from Wairarapa College in the solo-duo section and bands Polar Jam and Blue Sushi from Rathkeale College, Halafaxa from Rathkeale and Wairarapa colleges, Retenu from Solway College, and Bipolar Heartbeat from Wairarapa College.

The Manawatu field numbers among 2500 young musicians who have been competing since May in 20 centres from Dunedin to Whangarei, event spokeswoman Jacquetta Bell said.

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The contest is in its 27th year, she said, and was the only nationwide, live, all-original youth music competition in New Zealand.

Founder and director Glenn Common said the heats give all entrants the experience of live onstage performance in a professional setting.

"It's a supportive atmosphere among their friends and whanau, but walking out on stage to perform live certainly means they bring out their best. Smokefreerockquest provides a benchmark, offers inspiration, airs different ideas and helps entrants to identify their strengths and weaknesses - in time to make some changes as they hone their performance for the regional finals."

This year students can enter in the solo/duo section as well as being part of a band; and they can be considered for Smokefree Pacifica Beats at the SFRQ heats if their performance fulfils the required Maori and Pacific elements.

Results from the competition were not available at press time yesterday and Ms Bell said the duo/solo finalist and the top 12 bands will compete for regional honours at the Manawatu regional final at The Regent on Broadway from 7pm on Friday, July 1.

-Tickets for the finals cost $20 for adults and $10 for students, from ticketdirect.co.nz. For more information visit www.sfrq.nz.