President                                  Elsie Ashley OBE JP MUniv(Keele)

Vice-Presidents                      John Callister, Head of Entrust Music & Performing Arts

                                                    Barbara Kelly, Professor of Musicology at the Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester

                                                    Lincoln Abbotts, Director of Teaching and Learning Development, Associated Board of

                                                                                the Royal Schools of Music

                                                     Ruth Steele, Joint Leader of the Stoke on Trent City Music Service

                                                     Sylvia Buckley, Joint Leader of the Stoke on Trent City Music Service




The festival is an opportunity for amateur competitors of all ages to perform in public and receive advice from experienced professional adjudicators.  For some, the festival may be part of their preparation for examinations and perhaps a career, for others it is an extension of their absorbing interest in music-making and drama.


The festival is organised and staffed by a team of dedicated volunteers who give their time and enthusiasm to continue the festival tradition.  It is great fun to be part of.  If you would like to find out more about the many volunteer roles available please speak to any of the volunteers on the festival weekends or make contact through the website




Where              Speech and Drama classes will be held at Newcastle-under-Lyme College, Knutton Lane, ST5 2GB.  Music classes will be held at the adjoining St John Fisher Catholic College, Ashfields New Road, ST5 2SJ.


When               The syllabus shows the most likely days and times on which classes will be held.  We will make every effort to keep to the scheduled sessions but heavy or conflicting entries may mean we have to make changes.  If this becomes necessary we will let competitors know as soon as possible.


                        To help us keep the schedules running to time competitors must keep to the time limits shown in the syllabus.  The adjudicator may ask competitors performing beyond the set time to stop.


Facilities          Light refreshments are available throughout the festival and Newcastle town centre is only a few minutes walk away.  Rooms are provided for choirs, bands and ensembles to assemble for warm up and tuning.


Entries             This festival is the first for which entries are being received on-line and it is expected that the vast majority of competitors will take advantage of the convenience of this method. Entries to the festival close on Monday 18th January 2016 for posted entries and Monday 25th January 2016 for those entered on-line (reflecting the reduced administrative resource required for the latter). Please ensure that payment is made by these dates.  Shortly afterwards all competitors should receive notification of receipt of entry confirming the time and location of classes.  This form will also admit the competitor (and accompanist where needed) to the competition rooms.


If you have not received this notification by Monday 15th February 2016 please contact the Entries Co-ordinator on 01782 787935 or email (n.b. 0=zero).


Audience          Audience admission to the festival is £1.50 per day for adults with free admission for children.  Programmes for the Music or Speech and Drama Sections are sold separately at £2. These show all the classes and competitors, and can be ordered through the on-line entry system or the entry form.