Māori thrash metal band Alien Weaponry will be the first New Zealand group and youngest ever to perform at the Metaldays festival in Slovenia.
The trio will perform on the Bosko Bursac stage at what is considered by some as being among the top festivals in Europe.
Alien Weaponry was given the opportunity after a fan approached festival booker Crt Batagelj at an airport in Athens and showed him a YouTube clip of the band's popular hit Rū Ana Te Whenua. Batagelj then contacted them immediately offering them the slot.
The offer prompted the band's New Zealand management to seek further opportunities in Europe, resulting in a three-year contract with Berlin-based management agency Das Maschine.
Creative New Zealand has stepped in to assist the band, approving a grant of $19,000 to cover the costs of travel, insurance and transporting instruments.
15-year-old bass player Ethan Trembath says they are appreciative of the support.
"We were all still at school this year, and there's no way we could have raised that much money ourselves. We are incredibly grateful to Creative New Zealand for helping us."
Alien Weaponry hails from the tiny town of Waipu in Northland. They set a goal to play at a number of big European festivals before they were out of their teens.
"It's hard to believe that come the middle of next year we'll be sharing the stage with some of the biggest metal names in the world," says 17-year-old drummer Henry de Jong.
Henry and his younger brother Lewis (guitar and lead vocals) are direct descendants of Te Ahoaho (a warrior who died in the battle at Pukehinahina, Gate Pā); and a number of their songs, including Rū ana te Whenua, connect with the whakapapa and history of their rohe, as well as historical injustices and modern post-colonisation issues affecting Māori.
Other songs focus on social and political issues that have affected them as rangatahi (teenagers).
The festival runs from July 23-28.
You can follow Alien Weaponry via their Facebook Page.