A Mount Maunganui College band and a Bethlehem College solo artist will perform in the national finals of the 2014 Smokefree Rockquest (SFRQ).

Joe's Van from Mount Maunganui College and Georgia Lines, a solo artist, from Bethlehem College are among the finalists.

700 entries were received nationwide, vying for one of the spots in the national final in Auckland on September 27.

Named last week in the top 30 acts, those 30 bands and solo-duos were further narrowed down by a panel of judges from the music industry, and the final six bands and three solo-duos were announced today.

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SFRQ founder and director Glenn Common said selecting the national finalists presented the usual challenge, with a very high level of 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.

"This event emphasises the whole package - songwriting, performance and presentation, which is realistic preparation for making a career in the music industry."


A bit about the local talent:
Joe's Van is an alt-funk Mt Maunganui College trio with a six-year history in Smokefreerockquest.

Lead singer and bass player, Jake Nicholas said they had a very different sound.

"We kind of draw on [African-American] funk and artists like Larry Green," he said.

"We've been playing together for about eight or nine years now."

The other members of Joe's Van are Cormac Seymour (electric guitar) and Rory Priest (drums).

Georgia Lines from Bethlehem College in Tauranga said her unique voice and lyric combo set her apart from other singer-songwriters.

"I get inspirations for my songs at the weirdest of times in the weirdest of places. Many times, I find conversations with people or dare I say it... eaves-dropping into conversations in public places the most interesting.

"I'll sit on the bus pretending to listen to music, with my headphones in and writing down the conversation or parts that would make great lyrics."

Georgia also won the Smokefree Award for Women's Musicianship.