Help & Useful Info


Newcastle Festival is run entirely by unpaid volunteers. However, items such as professional adjudicators and venue hire need to be paid for and entry fees only partly cover the costs. Please consider making a donation. Become a FRIEND for £15+ or Become a PATRON for £30+ Each time we print a new programme, we list the names of Friends and Patrons who have made donations during the previous 12 months. You will also be sent a free programme, giving you free admission to the next festival. If you wish to Gift Aid your donation...... please use the CONTACT US button to get touch with our treasurer.


FESTIVAL RULES   (revised 2018)


i An amateur is defined as someone who does not receive more than 'out-of-pocket' expenses for performance or teaching.

ii An official entry form can be either the printed version submitted by post, or a form submitted electronically using the festival on-line entry system,


1(a)All entries must be made on an official entry form, which must be received by the Entries Co-ordinator by the published closing date, normally 6-7 weeks before the Festival.

1(b) Entries will not be accepted after the closing date.

1(c) A separate entry form is required for each competitor. Assumed names are not permitted.

1(d) Payment for postal and on-line entries must be made with the entry.

1(e) No entry will be accepted without the details of the 'own choice' piece, where applicable.

2 The executive committee reserves the right to refuse any entry, in which case the entry fee will be refunded.

3 The executive committee will decide the order in which the various classes will be held and, if it is found necessary to transfer classes to another day competitors will be warned beforehand. The order in which competitors will perform within a class is set by use of random order generator software.

4 Competitors not appearing when called may be accommodated or may forfeit their right to compete in that particular class subject to the circumstances. If accommodated, their performance may be rescheduled to follow the current or next performer in a way that does not disrupt the flow of proceedings. The Competitors Steward is to advise the Adjudicator accordingly.

5 Where an age limit is specified, competitors should be prepared to produce proof of age. All ages should be calculated as on the first day of the festival.

6(a) No competitor is allowed to compete more than once in the same class, including duet, trio and ensembles (both music and speech) and choirs.

6(b) Competitors shall not enter the same piece for more than one class.

6(c) Competitors must provide any equipment that they need and must be able to show that any electronic equipment has a valid PAT test sticker or certificate.

7 The age restricted classes (i.e. Junior Classes) are for amateurs. Open Classes are open to amateurs of all ages.

8 TIME LIMITS: The timing of a performance starts after the spoken introduction, including title. If a competitor exceeds a stated time limit in competition the adjudicator may ask them to stop and the competitor will forfeit the right to win the class.

9 Consequent upon the implementation in 2002 of the Protection of Children Act 1999, recording by any audio or visual equipment is TOTALLY BANNED throughout the premises in use for the festival (please read our Child Protection Policy which follows these rules).

10 All enquiries, complaints or protests must be made to the Festival Director by the end of the session to which they refer. The decision of the Executive Committee shall be final in all disputed matters and must be accepted.

11 Where documents are to be submitted in advance of the festival, such as original compositions, they may be sent by post or electronically, or delivered by hand. Unless delivered by hand an acknowledgement of the receipt of the document will be given by email or by phone. Master documents, such as music for the accompanist, must be sent by post or delivered by hand.



12 A copy of ‘own choice’ test piece(s) must be provided for the adjudicator, labelled with the competitor’s name and class number. Photocopies will not be accepted because of copyright law. A neat handwritten copy is permitted. This should be handed to the adjudicator's steward in the competition room as each competitor comes forward to perform. Entrants may be disqualified if the copy is not available. These copies will be returned later through the information desk (see 21). The title, author, publisher and duration of own choice piece(s) should be stated on the entry form. 'Own choice' test pieces must not exceed 5 minutes, unless otherwise stated in the syllabus.

13(a) This Festival is a partner in the agreement with the Authors' Licensing and Collecting Society arranged through the Federation, which states that entrants do not have to obtain copyright permission for poetry, prose or solo dramatic items performed to a limit of 10 minutes. Dramatic items must be announced with the title and author at the time of performance to qualify for copyright indemnity. The performer must not change the words or gender of the character. Competitors must announce the title and author of their chosen piece when they come forward to perform.

13(b) Duologues and group dramatic activity are not covered by the above agreement and copyright for these items should be sought by performers at the time of entry.

14(a) In Drama Classes small hand properties may be used but not theatrical costume. Chairs and a small table will be available in the rooms for the use of competitors.

14(b) In Mime Classes no hand properties, music or sound effects are allowed.



15 Timing is governed by Rule 8. Any musical introduction before the competitor starts, or ending after the competitor has stopped, is included in the timing as part of the performance.

16(a) An official accompanist will be available (except where stated in the syllabus), but competitors may provide their own.

16(b) Each competitor who requires the services of the official accompanists in 'Own Choice' classes must send one copy of the piece chosen to the Entries Coordinator, Karen Shutt, 14 Craig Walk, Alsager ST7 2RJ, before the entry deadline otherwise competitors must provide their own accompanist.

16(c) Verbal instructions may be given prior to the performance but no provision can be made for a rehearsal with the festival accompanist on the days of the festival.

17(a)  Each competitor must provide a copy of their own choice music for the adjudicator, labelled with the competitor’s name and class number. This should be handed to the adjudicator's steward in the competition room as each competitor comes forward to perform. Entrants may be disqualified if the copy is not available. These copies will be returned later through the information desk (see rule 23). Photocopies will not be accepted except that this Festival complies with the agreement between the British Federation and the Music Publishers Association which states: "When an Own Choice work is selected from a publication containing several different works and which is not published separately, one copy may be made for the use of an adjudicator at a festival or competition provided that the competitor 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. This permission specifically does not apply to set works."

     This permission applies to copyright holders who are members of the Music Publishers Association. Competitors must obtain permission from copyright holders who are not in the MPA to copy music.  Competitors using copies without the appropriate permission will be disqualified. This permission does not apply to the copy for the accompanist which must be an original printed copy.

17(b) 'Own Choice' test pieces must not exceed the time limit stated for the  class. No festival set piece may be offered as an 'own choice' for another class at the same festival. No piece may be entered more than once by the same competitor.

18 No conductor is allowed to sing with the choir he/she is conducting. In unaccompanied choral music, ensembles or vocal quartets, a chord may be struck on the piano.

19(a) No competitors or choirs are permitted to rehearse in or near the precincts of the competition rooms.

19(b) Competitors are not permitted to practise on the Festival pianos but they may try out the piano before playing.



20 The adjudicator may take into consideration the quality of the test piece(s) chosen as well as the performance.

21 Prizes may be withheld if, in the opinion of the adjudicator, sufficient merit is not shown.

22 The decisions and awards of the adjudicators shall in all cases be final and may not be challenged.

23 The adjudicators' written reports, certificates and copies of competitors' own choice test pieces will be available at the information desk as soon as possible after completion of a class.  The cost of these documents is included in the entrance fee, but unclaimed items will not be kept after the close of the festival. 

     The following certificates will be issued: Honours, Distinction, and Merit.

24 In OPEN Classes, if only one entry is received, that class may not run (unless otherwise stated in the syllabus). The entrant will be informed after entries have closed and the entry fee refunded.   This rule does not apply to JUNIOR Classes (i.e. Age restricted classes), where the single entrant may perform for an adjudication. The Trophy may be awarded, if, in the opinion of the adjudicator, a sufficient standard has been attained.

25 Challenge Cups and Trophies are to be held for eleven months only.  All winners must sign an acknowledgement complete with their name, address and telephone number to confirm that they are taking away a trophy and should check that they are covered by their home insurance.  The competitor is responsible for the cost of engraving their name(s) on the trophy or plinth.

26 Trophies should be returned to the Trophy Steward by the end of the second week in February of the following year. The Trophy Steward will write to remind all winners.

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