We have made a number of significant changes to the Music Festival following extensive consultation. 

We have moved the Festival weekend to the 23rd and 24th of March.  This change has been for two reasons.  The first is that we have had feedback that the timing of the Festival in June clashes with a number of school and music exams.  The dates in March are less likely to clash with any other exams and therefore should be better from that point of view.  The second is that the focus of the Festival is changing from a primarily competitive to one that is designed to support young musicians and their teachers by providing a performance platform and quality feedback at a time when teachers and students will be able to use that experience to support their preparation for performances such as school concerts and ABRSM exams in June.

A second major change is the structure of classes.  We have structured the classes by genre and instrument/voice.  This means that a much wider range of genres can be accommodated and the class structure has been significantly simplified.  We hope that this change will encourage more young musicians to enter and make it easier for everyone to complete the registration process.  Although there are fewer classes everyone who has entered in the past will find a class that is appropriate for them.

Some aspects of the Festival will not change.  We will continue to be linked to the British and International Federation for Festivals of Music, Dance and Speech and source our adjudicators from their specialists.  This will ensure that we continue to provide the standard of adjudication which we have benefited from in the past.  There will still be the opportunity for entrants to gain medals and certificates to recognise their achievements and we will continue to award trophies.   

By simplifying the class structure and removing the age specific classes we have been able to simplify the fee structure and so there will be one fee for solos, one for duos and trios and one for groups of four or more.  We have also simplified the time allocations.  They will now be between 2 and 6 minutes in all classes and every class will have a choice of one or two pieces.  Tuning and setting up will not be included in the time allocations.  Where there are large classes, such as for example Class 1 Classical Solo Piano, we will schedule the class into several timetable slots by age.  Where there are classes that include several instruments such as Class 4 Classical Solo Strings we will schedule by instrument so that all of the performers on a particular instrument perform consecutively.

The introduction of a much wider range of genres means that we will be providing more in the way of equipment to facilitate different requirements.  These will include:

Classical: grand piano and music stands

Musical Theatre: vocal microphone(s), grand piano, CD or MP3 playback

Pop/Rock, Folk/World and Jazz:  grand piano, music stands, drum kit, bass amplifier, guitar amplifier(s), vocal microphone(s), CD or MP3 playback

In summary the Key Features are:

  • The Festival provides a platform to aspiring amateur musicians for performance with supportive feedback from professional adjudicators in a friendly atmosphere.
  • The event is open to all styles and genres of music with all instruments and voices being welcome.  Participants can perform on their own (solo) or in a group (ensemble).
  • The Festival will continue to award the title of “Colchester Rotary Musician of the Year” and “Colchester Rotary Singer of the Year” but will do so on the basis of the performances over the weekend rather than at a competitive Finale concert.
  • The adjudicators will always be chosen from the British and International Federation specialist adjudicators.  This ensures that the quality of the feedback is of the highest standard and that the running of the Festival is compliant with all of the national standards.  Adjudicators are also always from out of the Essex/Suffolk area to ensure that there are no conflicts of interest.
  • Every entrant will receive a written adjudication sheet and a certificate as well as verbal feedback from the adjudicator at the end of the class.