Rockquest teen bands get shot at stardom

CHE BAKER
Last updated 05:00 03/07/2014
The Fiends
CHE BAKER/Fairfax NZ

EXPERIENCE COUNTS: Wakatipu High School band Bayhip, now called The Fiends, opened for Lynyrd Skynyrd at Gibbston Valley.

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Students are hoping to find a path to fame and fortune when they take the stage for tonight's Central Otago Smokefree Rockquest finals.

Nerves, strained vocal chords and forgetting the lyrics will hopefully not be a part of the show as almost 100 students from Queenstown, Wanaka and Cromwell take to the stage at the Lake Wanaka Centre for a chance to join the ranks of Kiwi music success stories.

New Zealand music heavyweights including Kimbra, Midnight Youth, the Naked and Famous, Stereogram and Bic Runga were just some of the artists and bands that used the competition as a stepping stone to start their careers.

Members of the Wakatipu High School band The Fiends were no beginners to the big stage, with most of the members, performing as Bayhip, opening for rock legends Lynyrd Skynyrd at the Gibbston Valley Winery concert in February.

Band member Theodore Baumfield, of Queenstown, said opening for the concert was a big deal for the band and they would draw on the experience for tonight's competition.

However, last night's band practise was a last minute dash to add the final tweaks to their original songs and finalise song names.

Regional finals throughout the country would wrap up this week before the top two bands and solo/duos from each region would be judged via video for selection as a national finalist to compete in Auckland in September.

Smokefree Rockquest founder and director Glenn Common said the event offered entrants a chance to perform in a professional setting.

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- The Southland Times

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