Garin College’s Future Class vocalist Abbey Hahn is looking forward to the Smokefree Rockquest Nelson Final later this week. Photo: Brittany Spencer.

Bands’ quest for rock glory


Nineteen student bands battled it out on the Annesbrook Church stage on Saturday, all vying for one of the twelve spots in the 2017 Smokefree Rockquest Nelson Final.

Each of the six bands from Nayland College, Nelson College and Nelson College for Girls impressed the judges enough to earn a place in Friday’s regional final at Theatre Royal.

Fret 24, So Far, The People’s Jury, Ivasa, Coastal, and Equinox will go up against Waimea bands and each other in the hopes of making the top two bands, in order to move on to the national final in Auckland on September 2.

smokefree nay fret24
Fret 24 frontman, Ben Dowdle from Nayland College, raised the energy as the final act on Saturday’s Smokefree Rockquest Nelson heats. Photo: Brittany Spencer.

Jack Rollinson, the Fret 24 guitarist from Nayland College, says the band were absolutely buzzing as they came off stage.

“It was a pretty big rush, it’s cool getting the audience excited and it’s awesome seeing people enjoying music that we’ve created.”

Although this is the band’s first time competing in Rockquest, the guitar, drum and vocal trio have been playing together for three years and are looking forward to the regional final.

“We’re so excited for Friday,” says frontman Ben Dowdle. “We’re going to practice really hard and get really sorted and we want heaps of people to come down, have a good time and support us.”

Smokefree Rockquest founder and director Glenn Common says the level of performance at the heats seems to keep going up every year, but for the Nelson finalists the work is not over yet.

“The  12 bands going on to the finals need to practise hard, craft their set, get their supporters rallied and make good use of networking opportunities and social media to promote themselves and their achievements.”

To support and vote for Nelson’s finalists, head to Theatre Royal this Friday for the Smokefree Rockquest Nelson Final.

Alongside the band heats was the Solo/Duo section which included students from Motueka High School, Garin, Waimea and Nayland College.

Talented 13-year-old singer-songwriter, Brooklyn Scott from Garin College, took out the solo duo title, followed closely by Lucid Laughs’ Dayla Schmutzer-Ward and Delilah Botham from Waimea and Nayland College.

Both solo-duos acts will now put together 15 mins of their best material and submit it for selection as national finalists.

The Smokefree Rockquest Nelson Final will be held at Theatre Royal from 7pm on Friday, tickets are from TicketDirect or at the door.