Fire Without Permit vocalist Lewis Miccio, at the Smokefreerockquest heats on Friday night. Photo: Phillip Rollo.

Teens rock Rockquest


With young musical talent belting out well crafted original tunes for three hours on Friday night, it seemed like the judges might have had a hard time finding ten finalists for the Smokefreerockquest regional finals.

In years gone by, a clear front runner generally emerges from the heats, but a new solo/duo format and a record number of entries meant that simply wasn’t the case this year.

Thirty acts representing every secondary school from Nelson through to Golden Bay took part in the 26th year of Smokefreerockquest, with alt-pop synths, death core screams, soulful vocals and mind melting guitar solos giving the sold-out Theatre Royal audience an array of entertainment.

Ryan Beehre of Minuit had the tough task of picking tens bands from the heats to come back for this Friday night’s final, but deciding just two solo/duo acts to join them was always going to leave more agony than joy. Last year’s solo/duo winner Livvy and Anna, who this year went under the name ELAE, were the biggest omission as Garin College’s Gabriella Atkinson and Nelson College for Girls’ Zi Shaw claimed the two spots and will now play off for first and second.

The Nelson final is at the Theatre Royal this Friday starting at 7pm. Tickets are $10 for school students and $20 for adults from Ticket Direct or at the venue, and event founder Glenn Common is encouraging people to get in quick.

Bands through to the finals include; Aeon Venture (Garin College), Fire Without Permit (Nelson College, Waimea College), OH BLOK (Garin College, Nelson College), Paper Scissors (Motueka High School), Rictorscale (Motueka High School), Slim Conviction (Garin College, Nayland College, Waimea College), Toxic Vain (Waimea College), Velocity (Nelson College), Celestia (Garin College) and Westbrook (Nelson College, Garin College, Nayland College).