The entries are in, the venues are booked and the huge organisational effort of staging more than 50 live gigs in centres from Invercargill to Kerikeri is about to begin as Smokefreerockquest and its sister event Smokefree Pacifica Beats get under way for 2014.
The events were to be launched at a music industry function at Auckland's Back Beat Bar this week, where last year's winners - Waikato singer-songwriter Harry Parsons, Taupo indie band A Bit Nigel and reggae lineup Strangely Arousing - showed the level of talent, skill and performance sophistication that these two live original music contests encourage.
Founder and director Pete Rainey says Smokefreerockquest and Smokefree Pacifica Beats offer an experience with wide-ranging benefits.
"Kids are so enthusiastic about playing contemporary music they don't realise the advantages they're gaining from learning a musical instrument and the way that the discipline, skills and brain development will benefit every one of their other subjects," he says.
"There's more and more research showing the positive effects of learning to play an instrument, and Smokefreerockquest and Pacifica Beats open this up to all kids, no matter what their family background or financial circumstances.
SFRQ 2014 begins today with a regional final in Southland and SFPB's first event is on May 24 in Canterbury.
During the next two months heats and finals are held around the country, then the top regional bands and solo or duo submit videos for selection as national finalists. The Smokefree Pacifica Beats national final is on September 26 and Smokefreerockquest is on September 27 in Auckland.
Smokefreerockquest , has national winners' prize packages for bands and the solo or duo winners that include musical gear to a total value of $13,000 from New Zealand Rockshop and their suppliers, inclusion on the New Zealand On Air Kiwi Hit Disc, radio promotional support, and video play on youth music TV channel FOUR.
The top six Smokefree Pacifica Beats finalists are invited to Auckland for a weekend of music, friendship, mentoring and culture at Horotiu Marae, AUT (Auckland University of Technology).
The SFPB national winners' prize package includes musical gear to a total value of $3000 from New Zealand Rockshop and their suppliers, a $10,000 song and video package from New Zealand On Air and performance spots at the 2015 Raggamuffin and Pasifika Festivals.
Visit sfrq.co.nz for more information.
Musical successes from Smokefreerockquest during its 26-year history include Kimbra, Broods, Midnight Youth, Aaradhna, Opshop, Evermore, Ladyhawke, Minuit, Kids of 88, Die!Die!Die!, NO, Annah Mac, Bang!Bang!Eche!, Streets of Laredo, Joel Little, Cairo Knife Fight, Cut Off Your Hands, the Datsuns, Brooke Fraser, Anika Moa, Kora, Anna Coddington, The Electric Confectionaires, Steriogram, Spacifix, Phoenix Foundation, The Feelers, The Black Seeds, Nesian Mystik, Bic Runga, The Checks, Julia Deans, King Kapisi, The Naked and Famous, Autozamm and Elemeno P.
- The Nelson Mail