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Frequently asked questions

Whether it's your first time at the festival or you've competed many times before, we want you to have the best experience possible. We know that allaying any worries or uncertainty helps to calm any understandable nerves on festival days. If you can't find the answers you are looking for below, please click here to contact us and we will reply as soon as possible.

How do I enter the festival?

All entries need to be made online via the PlayandPerform platform by 11.45pm on 23rd January 2023. Late entries will not be accepted unless there are exceptional circumstances. Entry fees can be paid online via debit or credit card. The relevant entry fee for each class can be found on PlayandPerform and in the syllabus. Schools may pay via BACS transfer, if necessary. Further details can be found on PlayandPerform.

Can I enter more than one class?

Competitors may enter only ONE CLASS plus OPEN CLASS in each SECTION. Two different instruments may be entered in the same class/section. A different piece must be played or performed for each entry.

What do I do about music stands?

Bands and orchestras requiring music stands please contact Jan Venables 07928 316080 at least one week beforehand. Individuals should bring their own music stands with them.

Do I need to provide the music for the adjudicator?

A copy of own choice pieces must be provided for the Adjudicator at the beginning of the Class. For Rock and Pop and Jazz classes, a formal score might not always be appropriate, but a chord tab or crib sheet MUST be provided instead, clearly indicating the title and composer. Unauthorised copying of music is an infringement of copyright. If the music is out of print, permission to copy MUST be obtained in writing from the publishers and a copy of their letter or email attached to the music. The Music Publishers’ Association has issued a code of practice making the concession that own choice pieces may be copied from volumes only and for the use of the Adjudicator only. The copying of music for the accompanist is forbidden. Photocopies for the Adjudicator are allowed, but these must be totally legible. With the exception of the above concession, no other photocopying of music is permitted. If music is downloaded from the internet, the performer should also print off and submit the permission statement that accompanies the music. The adjudicators’ photocopies will not be returned. Due to difficulties experienced in other recent festivals, our festival advises against the use of tablets, iPads and similar devices for the purposes of use as a digital score.

How many pieces should I perform?

In MUSIC classes where the time limit is 5 minutes or less, ONE PIECE is to be performed. Where the time limit is 6 minutes or more, ONE OR TWO PIECES may be performed unless otherwise stated. Timings should include breaks between pieces. The competitor should announce the title of the piece to be performed, no longer than 30 seconds. In POETRY, PROSE & DRAMA classes, one piece should be performed, unless otherwise stated in the syllabus

Am I allowed to wear a costume for my drama performance?

Competitors are reminded that due to Performing Rights, no full costume or scenery may be used but movement and basic props are allowed. The following props are acceptable – practice skirts, practice trousers, scarves/shawls, headwear, gloves, fans and other hand-held small items. Competitors in these Classes are allowed to provide their own prompts. Competitors should NOT wear stage makeup.

How will each section be adjudicated?

Each of the adjudicators is an expert in their field. They will adjudicate virtually for any online classes and in person for the majority of classes at the festival. They will sit at a table with a helper who will make sure that their comments are written down. The following categories will be awarded:

Commended, Highly Commended, Merit, Distinction, Honours.

In all cases the Adjudicator's decision will be final. The Adjudicator will announce the winner of each class.

In classes of 5 or more, a 2nd place will be awarded. In classes of 10 or more, a 3rd place will also be awarded.

Is there an upper age limit?

Some classes have an age limit (which is evident in the syllabus and when entering) but anyone of any age is welcome to enter the Open classes. The music solo classes are distinguished by ability rather than age and there is no upper or lower age limit for these classes.

Am I allowed to take photographs or recordings?

Recording and photography of Classes by audience members will NOT be allowed during performances and adjudications. We may have an official photographer who will take photographs during festival days, which may subsequently be used by the Press or on the Festival website. Where parents, guardians or carers do not wish photos to be taken at all, then the responsible adult attending should ensure that their child/pupil/vulnerable adult is not included in official authorised photos.

What if I can't attend the festival?

Competitors withdrawing from classes are asked to let us know as early as possible. Please click here to contact us. Unfortunately, if a candidate has to withdraw, fees cannot be returned under any circumstances.

Can changes be made to the festival?

The Committee reserves the right to:

i. cancel any class and return the fee

ii. divide and combine some classes. iii. change the order of individual performers in a class and if necessary, the class itself

If this is the case, we will notify entrants as soon as possible via PlayandPerform. This is why it is essential that all contact information given at the time of entry is correct and complete.

What do I do about accompaniment?

THERE IS NO LONGER AN OFFICIAL ACCOMPANIST. Competitors should bring their own accompanist and page turner where necessary. Pieces that require accompaniment MUST be played with an accompanist. No recorded backing music is allowed. If an accompanist is unavailable please contact Jan Venables: 07928316080 who may be able to assist. Prerecorded backing tracks are not permitted for use as an accompaniment except where stated in the syllabus. Competitors must bring their own playback equipment. All electronic equipment MUST have a current PAT certificate.

Do I need to pay to watch?

The Festival is run by volunteers but, in order to hire the venue and pay professional adjudicators, a charge for admission has to be made. Members of the public will be admitted to the festival at a charge of: Adults £5.00 Children Free Tickets are valid for the whole day. There are no half-day tickets. SCHOOLS ARE REQUESTED TO INFORM ANY PARENTS LIKELY TO ATTEND THAT THERE WILL BE A CHARGE FOR ADMISSION. Programmes covering both days of the Festival will be available priced £3.

What about copyright?

The Festival has an agreement with the Authors' Licensing and Collecting Society. This means that entrants do not have to seek copyright permission for any poetry, prose or SOLO dramatic item performed, to a time limit of 15 minutes. Authors will be directly reimbursed as a consequence of their works being performed at this Festival. Duologues and group dramatic activity are NOT covered by this agreement and copyright for these items should be sought by performers at the time of entry.

How do I obtain my certificate?

Medals may be awarded by the adjudicator at the end of the class. Copies of the adjudicator's remarks should be collected from the steward at the end of each class. Certificates should be collected from the certificate table in reception. There may be a short wait for certificates, so please be patient with the volunteers who will be printing and finalising the certificates as quickly as they possibly can.

How do I know which age class to enter?

The Competitor's age on 1st September 2022 shall be regarded as his/her age for the purposes of the competitions. (This corresponds with the academic year 1st September - 31st August.)

What do I do if I win a trophy?

Trophies will be awarded by the adjudicator, where applicable. If you win a trophy, please sign the form and hand this in to reception before you go home. 

Is food and drink allowed?

Refreshments are available on festival days and there is a space for competitors and audience members to gather, relax and eat beside the festival reception.  No eating or drinking is allowed in the competition rooms, but plastic water bottles are permitted.

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