Three of Western Bay of Plenty's brightest young musicians have been named among the final 30 to compete in this year's Smokefreerockquest battle.

Mount Maunganui band Joe's Van, Bethlehem College student Ben Mollison and Otumoetai College student Talia Dalton will now compete against the other acts to make it into the national final of the annual competition, which will be held in Auckland on September 11.

There were just on 700 entries in the youth music event.

Read more: Joe's Van cruises to top spot at Smokefreerockquest

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Regional finalists were selected from video footage they submitted.

Smokefreerockquest founder and director Pete Rainey said selecting the national finalists was always a challenge.

"With support from their schools, great role models on the Kiwi music scene and a lot of creativity and dedication, we're seeing a very high standard indeed from the bands and solo/duos at this level of the event," he said.

"It highlights that there's a lot more to Smokefreerockquest than just writing a song. They need the whole package - songwriting, performance and presentation, which is realistic preparation for making a career in the music industry."

These 30 bands and solo-duos will be further narrowed down by a panel of judges from the music industry, and on July 31 there will be an announcement of the final six bands and three solo-duos to play off the grand final.

The 21 acts not in the final selection now become contenders for the People's Choice, with the winner of the voting campaign competing as the tenth act in national final.

Smokefreerockquest, powered by Rockshop, has national winners' prize packages for bands and the solo/duo winners that include $22,000 in Rockshop vouchers, a $20,000 NZ On Air recording, video and promo package' a 'Decent Exposure' campaign on FOUR, a photo shoot with Thievery Studio, a branding package from Imaginary Friends and the Unleashed Travel ambassador award - a seven day trip to Fiji.

There is also the MAINZ (Music and Audio Institute of New Zealand) Scholarship for Outstanding Musicianship, the APRA (Australasian Performing Right Association) Lyric Award, the Lowdown Best Song Award and the Smokefree Women's Musicianship Award. The People's Choice award is voted by text with the opportunity to open the Smokefreerockquest national final.

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