Palmerston North band Kokoa Nashi has won Whanganui music festival Sound Valley's artist competition, claiming the opening slot on February 21 next year.
The competition involved a series of artists competing over five rounds, with the winner decided by how many "likes" they got on Sound Valley's Facebook page. In the final round, Kokoa Nashi received 802 heart emojis, beating out competition from Whanganui band Drxnes which also received hundreds of votes.
Guitarist Christian Perry, who grew up in Whanganui, said Kokoa Nashi began as a "finger-picking duo" before collaborating with other artists and progressing into fusion, prog and hip-hop.
"We want to experiment with a lot of different genres, and pretty much play what we want," Perry said.
"The competition was a bit conflicting for us because we're really good friends with Drxnes, and I even asked Koert [Wegman] if we could share the gig with them.
"At the end of the day we're stoked to be able to play at Whanganui's first music festival and to play alongside a band like Kora is a dream come true."
Perry said the band would be releasing a new EP "very soon".
Sound Valley co-ordinator Koert Wegman said it ran an extra round of bands to compete in last week's final because of the number of entries the festival had received.
"We had another big influx of bands, so we ran a fifth round and it all turned out all right," Wegman said.
"I'm stoked for Kokoa Nashi, and we'll be working with Drxnes in some other events we've got in the works as well."
Kokoa Nashi would take the stage at 10.30am, Wegman said, with 11 other acts to follow over the course of the day.
"We've got one more line-up announcement in October with four more bands. There's only the one stage, so it's going to be pretty crammed."