Smokefree Rockquest 2017 National Top 30 Finalists

Lisa Crandall

Lisa Crandall

The Smokefree Rockquest is a kiwi institution. The list of successful musicians who have begun their careers performing in the competition is long and varied and covers three decades.

Open to intermediate and high school bands, 2016 winners Alien Weaponry took out both the the Smokefree Rockquest and the Smokefree Pacifica Beats competition last year. They have since released their thrash metal Māori language single Urutaa, already nominated for a Silver Scroll.

Winners from 1989 and 1991 went on to form Opshop and Kora respectively, and Evermore won in 2000. Other notable entrants include Anika Moa and Bic Runga who were both signed by record labels directly after their national finalist performances. Kimbra and Midnight Youth recorded their 2005 Smokefree Rockquest songs for a compilation album of that year’s finalists.

Other bands who have rocked the Smokefree competition include Elemenop, Ladyhawke, Cut Off Your Hands, Steriogram, Phoenix Foundation, The Naked and Famous, Brooke Fraser, Devilskin, Nesian Mystik, Fur Patrol, The Datsuns, Liam Finn, and King Kapisi.

With such luminaries of the New Zealand music industry cutting their teeth in the competition it’s surprising that the finals are for the most part attended by parents and supporters of the competitors and not a wider audience.

Punk band Minimal Silence is in the top 20 bands group this year, their third time competing at the Smokefree Rockquest. Logan Anderson, their front man and bass player believes the competition itself is underrated. “It is an amazing platform for people to get their music out there. People like Kimbra started in the Rockquest, it’s a great first step for people to follow their passion. I think it definitely doesn’t get the support it should.”

Buying a ticket to the grand final is a chance to see the artists before they become famous, and to watch the first live performances by bands who will be the next talented up and comers on the New Zealand music scene.

Friday 28 July the Smokefree Rockquest announced their top thirty finalists for 2017, with twenty bands and ten solo or duo artists listed.

AO8, Northland
O-Boy!, North Shore
Bad Apples, Auckland Central
ils, Auckland Central
inutes to Monday, Auckland Central
Haze, Manakau
inimal silence, Manakau
Half Eaten Pie, Waikato
Rural Del
ivery, Waikato
French Doors, Bay of Plenty
Made Al
ive, Bay of Plenty
ie Whack, Hawkes Bay
Suburban Goons, Taranak
Fruit Juice Parade, Manawatu
KOA, Wellington
Run77, Canterbury
Fuzhun, Christchurch
Pseudo Sane, Timaru
Cheery Moon, Central Otago
The Dense, Southland

Mollie Harvey, Auckland Central
Jenna Jones, Auckland Central
Sonatane Kaufus
i, Manakau
Sam Egli, Taranaki
Lauren Carr, Wairarapa
ie and Laura, Nelson
Brooklyn Scott, Nelson
x2, Canterbury
Nat and Jono, Canterbury
iction, Canterbury

Of these the eight national finalists will be announced on Monday July 31st at 6pm, and compete to be the winners of the Smokefree Rockquest of 2017. Venues and times to be announced.