Rotorua students keen to enter this year's Smokefreerockquest are being invited to take part in the Tauranga competition with the city no longer hosting its own regional event.

Founder and director Glenn Common said there were some changes to the Smokefreerockquest format this year, but the platform for young people to perform their original songs live remained the same.

"Worldwide, there's a renewed emphasis on live performance in the music scene, with all the excitement that streamed music alone cannot deliver," he said. "For young people Smokefreerockquest provides a professional stage setting with lights, MC and digital backdrop. It takes them to the roots of musical performance, to audience response and to what, for many, is a life changing experience on stage."

This year, students can enter in the solo-duo section as well as being part of a band.


"We actually encourage them to do this. They can get the experience of performing alone or in a duo, as well as gaining the benefits of working together as a band," Mr Common said.

In another change this year, some smaller regions will not host their own event, but students will be able to travel to their nearest centre. This includes Rotorua with students being asked to enter into the Tauranga regional competition.

Smokefree Pacifica Beats provides a creative platform for youth to express themselves through music and performance featuring Maori and Pacific language and culture, while mixing and blending it with contemporary Kiwi flavours.

This year's Rotorua entrants in Smokefree Pacifica Beats can perform at the Smokefreerockquest gig in Tauranga or submit performance video.

The regional events for both contests run from May 13 until July 2, then the top regional bands and solo-duos submit video footage for selection to play off at the Smokefree Pacifica Beats national final on Friday, September 23 at the Raye Freedman Centre in Auckland, followed by the Smokefreerockquest national on Saturday, September 24.

Smokefreerockquest, powered by Rockshop, has national winners' prize packages for bands and solo-duo winners that includes $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 and branding package from Imaginary Friends.

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There is also the MAINZ Scholarship for Outstanding Musicianship, the APRA Lyric Award, the Lowdown Best Song Award, the Smokefree Women's Musicianship Award, the Dominate Hair Style Award and the People's Choice voted by text.