1. Participants

Competition in this Festival is open to any person who, in accordance with the conditions prescribed for each Class, is qualified to compete therein, subject to the following:

This Festival is for amateurs. For the purpose of this Festival, an amateur is considered to be a person who does not make his/her living by performing or teaching in the discipline involved. This does not apply to conductors.

2. Entries

The Committee reserves the right to refuse any entry without assigning a reason.


The age of the entrant on 1 October 2013 will be deemed to be his or her age for the purpose of entry.

Final date of entry

All entries must be made on the official entry form, which must reach the address specified on the entry form. Entry forms must be fully completed and submitted no later than 1st October for papers entries and 7th October for online entries

Own Choice Pieces

Entries will not be accepted without full details of any Own Choice title and composer being shown on the entry form. Under no circumstances will entrants be allowed to change an Own Choice piece once it has been submitted for inclusion in the programme and entrants can only perform music printed in the programme.

Entry fees cannot be returned except for entries not accepted by the decision of the Committee.

The Committee reserves the right to close classes before the official closing date if sufficient entries have been received.

3. Repeats

Entrants should not play repeats in test pieces unless specified in the Syllabus except for Da Capo and Dal Segno. In Own Choice pieces repeats are optional, but all works performed must comply with the time limits for that class.

4. Time limit

Time limit for each class is shown in the Syllabus and this must be strictly adhered to. Those playing overtime will have marks deducted and the adjudicator will stop the performance.

5. Set Music

Entrants must perform from the edition specified, and in the key specified, or they will be disqualified.

Entrants may not perform any piece in more than one class.

6. Accompanists

  • Official accompanists will be available to accompany classes with set pieces. If you wish to¬†provide your own accompanist you may do so but you must indicate on the entry form that¬†you do not require an accompanist.
  • If you wish to have the official accompanist for ‚ÄúOwn Choice” pieces please indicate on the¬†entry form. A copy of the music in the correct key and clearly marked with the entrant‚Äôs¬†name and class entry number must be sent with the entry form to the address given on the¬†entry form.
  • ¬†It is not acceptable to choose another accompanist once the music has been sent to the¬†official accompanist. Each competitor must provide a separate copy of music for the¬†accompanist ‚Äď even if there are two or more competitors performing the same music, there¬†must still be a copy for each individual competitor. It is important to ensure that music is¬†posted with correct postage.
  • Rehearsals:
    If required, please organise your rehearsal with the official accompanist three weeks before Festival begins. A fee will be charged for rehearsals.
    Please contact Liz Jones, 5 Alexandra Park, Holywood, BT18 9ET. Tel: 028 9042 4631 for contact details of the official accompanists.
  • It is essential that, if a competitor has to withdraw from the festival, the official accompanist is¬†notified as soon as possible.

7. Extra copy of Music for the Adjudicator

A copy of ‚ÄúOwn Choice‚ÄĚ pieces must be provided for the adjudicator and brought to the adjudicator‚Äôs¬†table before the competitor performs. Photocopies of the ‚ÄúOwn Choice‚ÄĚ music can be used for the¬†adjudicator. Copies of music, (other than photocopies), will be returned after the adjudication.

8. Photocopies

Photocopies should not be used at any time except for an awkward page turn during performance or for an extra copy for the adjudicator. Photocopies are only acceptable when the piece is taken from a large volume, which is already being used by the performer.

9. Vocal Classes

All vocal set pieces are to be sung in English, unless specified in the Syllabus as ‚Äėmay be sung in the¬†original text‚Äô. (This does not apply to the Traditional Music Section of the syllabus).¬†Boy sopranos are not eligible for female vocal classes.

10. Adjudicators

The Committee reserves the right to engage additional adjudicators, or to substitute without notice for any adjudicator unable to appear, and to transfer classes from one session to another, or from one day to another.

No entrant, teacher or interested party may discuss any aspect of the festival with an adjudicator before, during or after classes, except at the invitation of the adjudicator.

The adjudicator’s decision will be regarded as final.

11. Trophies and Awards

Adjudication reports can be collected at the end of each class from the desk outside the main hall.

Trophies awarded are kept for eleven months (until October of the following year) and should be returned in good and clean condition. A letter will be sent to the competitor during September requesting the return of the cup or trophy to this address: Christine Hall, 5 Croft Gardens, Holywood, BT18 0PD It is the competitor’s responsibility to have their trophies engraved. Awards will be presented at the discretion of the adjudicator and the Committee. Awards may be withheld pending settlement of any dispute as to the eligibility of the competitor.

12. Complaints

Any protest about the infringement of any of these rules, or action taken following an infringement, should be made in writing to the Secretary within one week of the date of the festival, and should be sent by email to the Secretary:


The decision of the Committee in all matters arising out of or not specifically covered in these Rules and Regulations, is final. The Festival is not responsible for the loss of any property on the premises.

13. Copyright and Child Protection Policy

The Festival is bound by copyright law and cannot allow photography, tape or video recordings, all of which are absolutely forbidden during performances or adjudication.

Persons responsible for the festival entries will receive copies of the Holywood Music Festival Child Protection Policy a couple of weeks prior to the Festival along with details of class dates and times. They must ensure that these copies are passed onto the parents/guardians of the competitors. It is the responsibility of the person making the entry to ensure that the parents/guardians receive this policy form.

The Holywood Music Festival Child Protection Policy can be read here.

14. Music Theatre Classes

All performances using music from shows in current production are subject to copyright law. Songs from shows in current production may be sung as a concert item, i.e. with no costume or movement, without need for copyright permission. Where movement or costume is included in a performance copyright permission is required and the Festival Committee accepts these entries on the basis that the appropriate copyright permission has been sought. Performers or teachers with queries on how
to obtain copyright permission for performance items should contact Festivals House on 0906 302 1302 before making entries. (Calls cost maximum of 50p per minute.)

15. Festival Timetable

Most classes will generally run in one and a half hour sessions in which a group of short classes may run consecutively with the adjudication at the end. The very young classes, though, will last no longer than 45-60 minutes.

Approximately two weeks prior to the festival those who are responsible for entries will receive details of the class times, e.g. 9:30am -11:00am.


A festival is an occasion when you want to do your best in every way, and platform deportment is a very important part of your performance. Performers can greatly add to the enjoyment of sessions by a pleasing and relaxed appearance. A performer who is at ease on the platform puts the audience at ease.

A performer who has made the effort to prepare work should use care and thought when selecting clothes to wear at the performance. Smart dress is a courtesy to the audience and flamboyant or very casual clothes should be avoided. Skirts always looks shorter on a platform so it may be more appropriate to wear a longer skirt. Female cellists and guitarists may find trousers more comfortable than skirts. Expensive clothes are not necessary.

Instruments should have been tuned prior to the class, so that only minor adjustment is required on¬†the platform. When a music stand is used it should be placed so that it does not obscure the¬†audience‚Äôs view of your playing.¬†When performers play an ‚ÄúOwn Choice‚ÄĚ piece they will be asked to announce to the audience what¬†they will be performing.

A performance starts before the first note, and finishes after the last one. Wait quietly until the adjudicator is ready, taking a few deep breaths, so that you begin your performance feeling comfortable. A slight bow to the adjudicator and audience at the end is a courtesy, and rounds off your performance (don’t forget to acknowledge the accompanist, if you are using one). Leave the platform without hurrying. If you are called up to receive a prize, shake hands with the presenter before taking it.

Attention to these points helps a great deal in developing a higher standard of amateur public performance.


75-77 A performance limited in its communication
78-80 A performance showing development of technique and/or communication
81-83 A capable performance showing some artistic appreciation and/or technical ability
84-86 A convincing performance technically and artistically
87-89 An excellent performance technically and artistically
90+ An exceptional performance, both technically and artistically