Six local bands will compete at the first-ever John Wong Tribute Music Challenge, currently underway at the Rita Flynn netball courts, in Port Moresby.
The UPNG New Ireland Students Association staged this idea, purposely to recognise and honour the legacy of a great PNG musician who was part New Ireland and part East New Britain.
But more importantly, the event aims to promote local musicians on a national level.
With battle of the bands being the main event, NISA representative Otto Wol said this is a platform for their exposure.
“The idea here is to put an instrument in their hand and put them on the stage. This is the dream of John Wong and we’d like to fulfil it,” he said.
The bands to be competing are: Kalang Boys, DBTI Turin boys, Niu Briton, Junou band, Unknowns and DBTI music club.
They will be judged by a three-man panel: Cyril Lumbia – arts lecturer, UPNG, Kivio Oli – head of department, Music, UPNG, and Grainger Runialo – director, Pro-ed studios.
The bands will perform a song each from three genres: reggae, rock and traditional or contemporary, including a song by the legend John Wong.
The winner of the event gets K700 and a shield, first runner-up gets K500 and a trophy and second runner up gets K300 and a trophy.
Wol also said the funds raised from tickets will be divided; half will go to NISA while the other half to John Wong’s family to set up a foundation to assist young up-coming artists.
He also added that deviating from the usual idea of celebrating provincial days, this gives a new approach to celebrating culture.
He then acknowledged the support of Yumi FM and Legend FM and four major sponsors: Coastal Fisheries Development Agency, Anitua, Next of Kin and Mac Jean Construction.
The event started at 12 noon today and will go on until 10pm.
(Some members of the New Ireland community in Port Moresby who were at the event this afternoon.)