Hamilton school bands took home the big wins from the Waikato edition of Smokefreerockquest, New Zealand's nationwide live-music youth competition, on Friday May 28.
Winner of the evening was the band Albert Street from Hamilton Boys High and Hamilton Christian School who won the band category at this year's regional final at the Clarence Street Theatre.
Albert Street placed first in the Waikato region last year, so were not taking for granted they would win again.
The band, consisting of frontman Zak Trenwith (guitar, vocals), drummer Jacob Smith, lead guitarist Daniel Humphrey, Jordyn Farmer (keyboard, vocals, synthesiser), and bassist Leejay Trenwith also took out the Rockshop Electronic Assistance Award.
Zak, 17, put it down to their stage presence and the energy they brought to their performance.
"I had no clue but I am so thankful. All the bands were so good today and so tight."
Second place in the band category and the ZM Best Song Award went to UnOfficial from Hamilton Boys High and Hillcrest High.
They join SOUL from Sacred Heart Girls College winning the ZM People's Choice Award, Best Vocal Award winner Hot Mess from Fraser High School and Dorien Hunt (guitarist at Benefit of the doubt) from Berkley Normal Middle School as the recipient of the Musicianship Award.
Solo-duo winner, Mia & Oj from Fraser High School (first) and Alfie from Cambridge High School (second), have the opportunity to submit a video of their original material for selection as one of the top 10 national finalists to play off at the national final in September.
The Smokefree Tangata Beats Award went to on.it from Hauraki Plains College and third place in the band category went to O,too, from Te Kauwhata College. All regional winners now go into the selection process for the national final of Smokefree Tangata Beats in Auckland on September 17.
Founder and director of Smokefreerockquest, music teacher Glenn Common says the potential of each new round of regional finalists is reflected in a music industry full of past participants.
"It's fascinating for us to look back at success stories like Kimbra, Marlon Williams and Broods where we could see the star factor right back at the regional level. Each event gives a new cohort of bands the opportunity to take their obsession with music and develop the organisational and stagecraft skills that will help them become another Kiwi music success."
Smokefreerockquest was founded in 1989 and aims to motivate young musicians to prove their ability and realise the heights they can reach in their music careers, and to encourage their peers to support original New Zealand music.
Smokefreerockquest national winners receive prize packages for bands and solo/duo winners including $22,000 in Rockshop vouchers, $16,000 NZ On Air recording, video and promo package, a photo shoot and branding package. Musical successes from Smokefreerockquest include Six60, Anika Moa and Leisure.