Rules and Regulations

General Regulations

1. Competition Entries
a. The closing date for entries is Monday, 15th July 2024. The Committee reserves the right to restrict entries or to close classes before the closing date for entries if the Festival is over-subscribed.
b. The Committee reserves the right to refuse any entry.
c. All entries must be made on official forms, which may be photocopied for each section. The forms must be completed in full, i.e. including the Declaration and Photo Consent sections signed as appropriate, and reach the Competitors’ Secretaries together with full remittance of entry fees by the closing date as detailed above.
d. Own choice music for the accompanist must be sent to the Competitors’ Secretary by the closing date (above).
All photocopied music must be clear and in a fit state for the accompanist. An original copy must be available on the day of the Festival (see notes on copyright and photocopying below).
e. All entrants/teachers must sign their acceptance of the Festival’s policies as shown on the Festival’s website

Paper copies of the following policies are available from the General Secretary.
General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Privacy Notice
Child Protection Policy
Creating Safer Festivals for Everyone

f. Where there are fewer than four (4) entrants in a Class, the Competitors’ Secretary may offer the performer an alternative or Performance Class as appropriate.
g. Competitors will receive a ticket allowing them to perform in their designated class(es); audience tickets must be purchased for all other performances.
h. Own Choice Classes
- Entries will not be accepted without full details being shown on the entry form.
- A competitor will not be allowed to change an “own choice” piece once the entry form has been received by the Competitors’ Secretary.
- Competitors must not choose Test Pieces specified for other classes.
- For Speech & Drama classes a copy of the own choice piece should be handed to the Adjudicator’s Clerk at the beginning of the class
- For Music classes, an original copy of the piece must be made available for the adjudicator at the time of Competition.
- Time limits where specified must be strictly adhered to, otherwise penalties will be imposed, which may result in either disqualification or deduction of marks.
i. Use of Official Accompanist
- From 2020 the Festival reverted to the rule that the official accompanist is used, except where otherwise stated.
- Where the official accompanist is required, the Competitors’ Secretary must receive a copy of the piece with the entry form by Monday, 15th July 2024.
- To assist our accompanists in their preparation and in giving their best support to all performers, we ask competitors to co-operate with the following -

Preparation of Photocopied Music
An original copy must be available for the adjudicator on the day of the Festival
a) The print must be clear and show both ends of the stave.
b) The pages must be taped together, edge on, in page order. No staples! Scotch Magic Tape or Sellotape (invisible) is preferable. If more than 3 pages, tape in book format, so accompanist can easily turn the pages.
c) The copies must be marked “Accompanist Copy. Destroy after use.”
d) Please put your name and class number clearly on the front of the music.
The Committee will not take responsibility for infringement of copyright and, accordingly, photocopies of pieces will not be accepted unless authorisation from the publisher is provided (see Section 5 Copyright and Photocopying below)

j. Unacceptable language thresholds
- The Festival aims to celebrate the best and highest forms of literature and language, and therefore reserves the right to refuse entries that are made up of continuously bad language and/or gratuitous expletives.
- It is understood that pieces routinely performed for public examinations (e.g. the works of August Strindberg and Tennessee Williams) often explore adult themes and contain strong language, and the Festival accepts such classic works. However, care should be taken when choosing or devising more contemporary pieces. We ask that you present your work in a manner that respects the ‘family-orientated’ nature of the Festival, and avoid the unnecessary exposure of younger children to inappropriate themes and language.
- Therefore all competitors of Classes 172 – 193 must send a copy of the piece as you intend to perform it to the Speech & Drama Competitors’ Secretary with your entry form.
- The Festival reserves the right to refuse any entry that it considers unacceptable. Four-letter words (e.g. f***) MUST be replaced by milder expletives, and such expletives used only sparingly.

2. Competition Eligibility
a. All competitions shall be open to amateurs only. For this purpose “amateur” is defined as –
Any person whose principal means of livelihood is NOT obtained from musical or dramatic work, even if he or she, from time to time, accepts a fee, stipend or honorarium for musical or dramatic services rendered.
b. In all children’s classes where an age limit is stipulated, each competitor must be within the age limit specified at the date of the competition. Age on 18th October 2024 if under 21 must be stated on the entry form.
c. The number of singers in Choral Classes 403 and 405 must not exceed the stated limits.
d. Boy sopranos are not eligible to enter female vocal classes.
e. Competitors may not be substituted on the day of the competition.

3. Competition Conduct
a. Video/audio recording or photography IS NOT ALLOWED during competitions.
b. Practice is not allowed on festival pianos; these may ONLY be played by competitors whilst competing.
c. The use of electronic equipment for sound amplification IS NOT ALLOWED.
d. No-one, other than the adjudicator, is allowed to prompt or otherwise assist the performance during competitions.
e. The conductor of a choral group IS NOT ALLOWED to sing with his or her Choir during competitions.

4. Competition Adjudication
a. Adjudicators’ decisions will be regarded as final.
b. Adjudicator’s notes will be available to competitors at the end of each Class or from the Festival office.
c. The Festival uses the marks system for grading performances, and the general descriptors are –

Marking Band Mark Descriptor

DEVELOPING    65-69 A performance demonstrating an awareness of technical skills, requiring more consistency and artistry
PROGRESSING 70-74 A performance showing development of technique and/or communication and commitment.
MERIT               75-79 A competent performance, showing some artistic awareness and/or technical ability
COMMENDED  80-84 A convincing performance technically & artistically, with increasing stylistic & communication skills
HONOURS        85-89 An excellent performance, demonstrating fluent technical and artistic skills with emerging individuality
OUTSTANDING 90-94 An impressive performance technically and artistically, displaying spontaneity & clear individuality.
EXCEPTIONAL   95+ A superlative performance, displaying exceptional artistic individuality.

d. All certificates, medals, trophies and plaques are awarded at the discretion of the adjudicator and the Festival Committee.
- First, Second and Third Prize certificates will be awarded in all Music and Speech & Drama classes where sufficient merit is shown.
- In junior classes a keepsake medal will be awarded to winners in the younger age groups, and a First Prize Certificate will be awarded in the older age groups. In adult classes a Certificate will be awarded to the winner of the class.
- A Trophy/Shield may be awarded to certain Adult Championship classes featuring Pianoforte, Vocal and Choral performances. The First Prize Winners of classes leading to a Championship award must be prepared to compete in the final. The Trophy/Shield award will be for a period of one year; the winner will bear the cost of any engraving, and must ensure the return of the trophy/shield to the Trophy Secretary prior to the next Festival.

5. Copyright and photocopying
a. The Music Publishers’ Association Code of Practice on Photocopying Copyright Works make the following concession for copying own choice pieces from volumes only for the use of the adjudicator at a festival provided that the entrant or participant has already purchased his/her own copy and that the copy made is retained and destroyed by the Administrator of the festival immediately after the event. Competitors are advised that permission applies only to copyright holders who are members of the Music Publishers’ Association (listed at the back of the Code of Practice leaflet, obtainable from the Association at 103 Kingsway, London WC2B 6QX or online companies‎
b. It is the competitor’s own responsibility to ensure that they seek permission to copy direct from any copyright holder whose name does not appear in the M.P.A. list. Single copies of items may not be photocopied without the prior permission of the copyright holder.
c. There is no longer an agreement between the Federation of Festivals and the Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society for copyright permission for the photocopying of any poetry or solo dramatic items (*) performed. The previous agreement did not cover duologues and group dramatic activity, and performers were asked to seek copyright for these items at the time of entry. It is now the responsibility of all performers to seek copyright agreement at the time of entry.
(*) Solo dramatic items must be announced at the time of performance with title and author to qualify for copyright indemnity, and the performer must not change the words or gender of the character.

6. Communications
a. All enquiries, complaints or representations must be made in writing to the Hon General Secretary.
b. Communications (other than those appropriate to Competitors’ Secretaries) should be addressed to the Hon General Secretary and a stamped, addressed envelope enclosed if a reply is required.
c. The decision of the Committee in all questions and disputes arising out of, or not provided for in, these regulations shall be final.