Taking part

Help! It's my first time…

The Festival is a unique and rewarding annual event, and everyone involved is there to make the experience as enjoyable as possible.

You have prepared your performance, you have arranged time off school/work, and you have friends/family organised to come and hear you… what now?

The ballot slip tells you where to come and when. Please arrive in good time, ten minutes before for individual performers, a bit more for larger groups.

  • Details of the full address of all the halls are on the website.
  • There are posters on the front of each hall telling you which door to come in.

You will be met at the door by the Cash Steward.

  • The Steward will ask to see your ballot slip, tick your name off the list of performers, and let you into the hall at a suitable break in the class before you. Please wait until the end of a performance before going into a hall.
  • The Steward will sell entry tickets to your friends/family, and programmes.
  • If you are performing an own choice piece, the steward will give you a slip to complete and give to the board steward.

When it is time, the Board Steward will seek you out. They will:

  • ask you to come to the front of the hall and sit with the rest of your class, and tick your name off another list of performers.
  • collect any own choice slips for passing to the adjudicator's steward
  • put the ballot number of each performer up on a board when it is their turn.

The third steward is the Adjudicator's Steward.

This steward sits beside the adjudicator. If it is an own choice class, they will ask for:

  • copies for the Adjudicator, if required
  • music for the Official Accompanist if you have not already sent it in.

When it is your turn to perform, approach the stage with a smile, wait for the adjudicator to give you a nod, and off you go. Remember if you enjoy yourself, so will the audience. The audience is there to support you.

The Adjudicator is a professional, with experience of performing, teaching and adjudication. When everyone on your class has finished there will be a short pause during which he/she will finalise his/her notes, and the steward will prepare the paperwork. The adjudicator will then stand up and deliver his comments. This is the time for you to learn about yourself and your chosen art.



A "winner" will be announced, and any prize awarded if appropriate. Please remember the festival motto is:

"Not to gain a prize or defeat a rival, but to pace one another on the road to excellence".

You will receive an Adjudication sheet and Certificate and can collect any material given to the adjudicator/ accompanist. You are then free to go, but please stay and support the next performers if you can.

Frequently Asked Questions

I've lost my ballot slip…

  • you can check up on your performance details by contacting the Secretary or by buying a programme. Hard copy programmes will be available at Chapter & Verse Music Shop in Crown Street, or as download on Festival website.
  • you don't need the ballot slip to get into the hall

I've got another class at the same time in a different hall…

  • contact the Secretary immediately you realise you have a clash
  • let the board steward know if you wish to change your ballot order
  • you will still be able to perform if you arrive late so long as you arrive before the adjudication starts
  • if you arrive after adjudication, speak to the Section Secretary and see if another time can be arranged for you to perform in a non-competitive basis to receive an adjudication.

The title I put on my entry form is not ready…

These things happen. This is only a problem if you are required to give titles with your entry. If so, you don't need to withdraw. You are welcome to perform a change of work, and receive an adjudication. The performance will be treated as non-competitive.

I've not requested the official accompanist but my own accompanist is not available…

Contact the Secretary if you have a problem with your accompanist who will be able to advise if the official accompanist can help. Please note that the Festival does not provide an Official Accompanist for the Open Classes.

Do I have to wear school uniform…

No, you should wear whatever you feel comfortable in. The only performance in which any dress code is suggested is the closing Challenge Recital on Friday 5th June in Holburn West Church.  Performers in the closing Festival Musician of the Year competition are asked to wear something appropriate for such an occasion.

Can I have my photograph taken…

Photography and recording of any kind is not allowed in any festival venue.  The Stewards are at liberty to ask anyone so doing to leave.  However, it may be possible to have photographs taken at the end of a class, so long as it does not interfere with your performance or those of others. Consult the Section Secretary on duty, or the Board Steward.

Can I hear other classes/performers…

Yes of course, the festival is open to all and audiences are very welcome to all performances. The informal evening recitals are an excellent opportunity to hear advanced players.

Be inspired by those around you.