Festival Regulations

Here you will find the festival regulations as well as our safeguarding and child protection policies.

If you have any further questions then just get in touch with the relevant person via the CONTACT page.

We recommend you read and familiarise yourself with the festival regulations before applying.


No sound, video or digital recordings or photographs may be made of any part of the Festival.

    1. The Festival is for amateurs. An amateur is someone who does not derive his/her livelihood from the branch of performance, defined by the class title, in which she/he seeks to enter the Festival. In any ensemble, all members must adhere to that principle. This regulation does not apply to conductors in choral and orchestral classes.
    2. Each paper entry is to be made on a separate entry form or entered on-line. Entry forms can be photocopied or downloaded from the website www.derbyartsfestival.co.uk.
    3. DETAILS OF OWN CHOICE TEST PIECES MUST BE GIVEN ON THE ENTRY FORM. WHERE THE OFFICIAL ACCOMPANIST IS REQUIRED, COPIES OF OWN CHOICE PIECES MUST BE SENT WITH THE ENTRY FORM. IN ADDITION, A COPY FOR THE ADJUDICATOR MUST BE HANDED IN BEFORE THE CLASS COMMENCES. Hymn Books need not be sent in advance – to avoid the cost of postage – but MUST be provided on the day. The standard of ‘Own Choice’ test pieces will be taken into consideration. Each copy MUST be marked with the performer’s name and class number.
    4. Official accompanists are provided, except for Adult Choirs Section, and must be requested on the entry form and fee paid where appropriate. Performers may bring their own accompanist if they wish.
    5. The qualifying dates for age limits are set out at the beginning of each section.
    6. All groups must consist of genuine members only, and no person will be allowed to compete twice in the same class.
    7. All completed entry forms, together with the correct fees, and music if required, must be sent to the appropriate Entries Secretaries, whose names appear at the top of the entry forms, by the closing date given.
    8. The Committee reserve the right to accept or refuse entries at their own discretion. The entry fee will only be returned if a class is cancelled.
    9. Receipts and performer’s tickets, stating time and place of class will be sent as soon as possible. These will admit the performer and his/her accompanist to the Festival for their particular class. Other members of the performer’s family attending the Festival are expected to pay admission on the day. However, ensembles of children under 18 years of age may be accompanied, free of charge, by one adult to every ten children.
    1. The Music Publishers’ Association has issued a Code of Practice on copying copyright works, and the following concession is made for copying own choice pieces from volumes only for the Adjudicator. Other items must not be photocopied without the permission of the copyright holder in each case. 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 provided that the performer 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. Single copies of items may not be photocopied without the prior permission of the copyright holder. This permission does not apply to making copies for the accompanist, who should always be given a printed copy from which to work. Photocopies for the Adjudicator must be totally legible and in A4 size per page and will be destroyed after the performance. Original downloads/compositions should be clearly marked in red.
    2. The music chosen for the performance must he used in the edition and key specified. Transpositions will only be permitted in versions authorised by the publishers.
      Any difficultly in obtaining copies should be reported to the General Secretary before 2nd January 2024. Performers must not be replaced by a substitute, nor may they change their OWN CHOICE pieces. The Festival is under legal obligation to supply to the Performing Rights Society details of all items performed in the Festival and the co-operation of teachers and performers in sending information at the correct time would be very much appreciated.
    3. 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, ie, with no costume or movement without need for copyright permission.
      Where movement or costume are 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 before making their entries.
    4. Derby Arts Festival has an agreement with the Authors, Licensing and Collecting Society. Entrants do not have to seek copyright permission for any poetry, prose or solo dramatic items performed to a time limit of ten minutes. Duologues and one-act plays are not covered by this agreement and copyright for these items should be sought and paid for at the time of entry.
  1. Adjudicator’s awards and decisions will be final. No person may approach an adjudicator at any time and must see a Festival representative with any concerns or enquiries.
  2. In Junior classes, certificates will be awarded as follows: Honours, 90 marks and over; Distinction, 87-89 inclusive; Commended 84-86 inclusive; Merit 81-83 inclusive; Certificate 80 marks.
    In Adult classes, certificates will be awarded for the 1st, 2nd and 3rd places only, provided they have been awarded 80 marks or more.
  3. Trophies/prizes, will be withheld if a mark of 85 is not achieved.
  4. Winners of trophies MUST sign a receipt before taking the trophy away. In accepting a trophy the winner undertakes to keep it safely and return it ADEQUATELY PACKED and in a good clean condition by registered post when notified and by the date given. Lost trophies must be replaced.

Alternative or additional adjudicators may be appointed as necessary.

    1. The order of performance will be as in the Official Programme. If the number of entrants will make a class unduly large the class may be divided at the committee’s discretion. All performers and accompanists must be present at the time stated for the class. Official accompanists are available as a private arrangement for practice before the Festival.
    2. Named performers cannot be substituted nor can own choice pieces. Performers not abiding by the rules will be penalised.
    3. No performer should enter the same own choice more than once and no set piece can be used as an own choice.
    4. A conductor should not sing with his or her choir or play with his or her orchestra.
    5. Successful performers should be prepared to perform their test piece in the Festival Concert if invited.
    1. The decision of the Committee on any question raised or not covered by these Regulations shall be final.

Safety of performers: It is necessary for teachers and parents to be aware of their responsibilities in entering any performers with limited physical capabilities or special needs, bearing in mind the limitations imposed by the stage and surrounding environment. It is also necessary for the teacher or parent to pass on to the adjudicator, via the organiser, any such information that would impact on the adjudicators work.

Entry Fees are shown by a code letter after the class number and are:


Performers entering vocal and instrumental classes with fee categories D and above who require the services of an accompanist will be required to pay £6.00 per entry. This does NOT apply to choirs.

The British and International Federation of Festivals for Music, Dance and Speech (BIFF) work for amateur festivals everywhere to help create thousands of educational performance opportunities for children and young people each year. The Federation, and our member Festivals, are committed to ensuring safe environments for children and young people and believe that it is always unacceptable for a child or young person to experience abuse of any kind. We recognise our responsibility to safeguard the welfare of all children and young people, by a commitment to recommend best practice which protects them. This policy applies to our Board of Trustees, paid staff, Adjudicator members, volunteers, students or anyone working on behalf of the Federation and our member Festivals.

We recognise that:
• the welfare of the child/young person is paramount• all children, regardless of age, disability, gender, racial heritage, religious belief, sexual orientation or identity, have the right to equal protection from all types of harm or abuse
• working in partnership with children, young people, their parents, carers and other agencies is essential in promoting young people’s welfare.

The purpose of the policy:
• to provide protection for the children and young people who participate in our Festivals, including the children of Festival members
• to provide staff and volunteers with guidance on procedures they should adopt in the event that they suspect a child or young person may be experiencing, or be at risk of harm

We will seek to safeguard children and young people by:
• valuing them, listening to and respecting them
• adopting child protection guidelines through procedures and safe working practice for staff and volunteers
• recruiting staff and volunteers safely, ensuring all necessary checks are made
• sharing information about child protection and safe working practice with children, parents, staff and volunteers
• sharing information about concerns with agencies who need to know, and involving parents and children appropriately
• providing effective management for staff and volunteers through supervision, support and training.

The Federation will review this policy each year in November in line with Safe Network guidance or sooner in light of any changes in legislation or guidance. All changes will be communicated to our member Festivals in time for the start of the new Festival year.

By applying to enter Derby Arts Festival performers accept that the organisers need to comply with current legislation including for example child performance licensing.

Creating Safer Festivals for Everyone
The Federation and its member Festivals use the following policies and procedures to create Safer Festivals for everyone:
1. A single, definitive Child Protection Policy adopted by all Federation Festivals.
2. One or more designated Festival Safeguarding Officers (FSO) appointed for each Federation Festival. Name: Mrs Barbara Doar Phone: 01332 559601
3. Best practice advice in the form of Safe Working Practice and Festival Child Protection leaflets, with support and training for all Festival staff and volunteers, including clear reporting procedures for anyone with a concern about a child.
4. Appropriate recruitment and induction procedures for all new Festival staff and volunteers responsible for providing safe environments for everyone attending / performing at a Federation Festival.
5. All Festival personnel wear an official Festival identity badge and a Chief Steward will be present at each session. All teachers/parents/guardians /carers are asked to report all incidents of any nature to anyone wearing a Festival badge. All reported incidents will be handled in accordance with the Safe Working Practice and Festival Child Protection best practice advice. In addition, we will ensure the availability of a quiet area /room where concerns can be expressed in private.
6. For the duration of a Festival all teachers/parents/guardians/carers are responsible for the continuous care and supervision of their own children/pupils. If they are unable to attend personally, they must delegate their responsibilities to an identified adult and ensure that their children/pupils are aware of the identity and name of the person responsible for their care. This includes supervision throughout all Festival venues, practice and changing areas that may be provided. Separate changing rooms are provided for girls and boys in the Dance section but will not be supervised. Fire doors in the changing rooms, leading out of the building must be kept closed at all times for security reasons.
7. No unauthorised photography, audio or video recording of children and young people is allowed at our Festivals. Where parents/guardians/carers do not wish photos to be taken at all, then the responsible adult attending should ensure that their child is not included in official photos.
8. Some children and vulnerable adults may have specific needs in order to take part. If this is the case we ask the responsible teachers/parents/guardians/carers to contact the Festival Organisers at time of entry. The Festival actively seeks wherever possible to meet these needs, but must know beforehand in order to prepare support or to advise that help cannot be provided on this occasion.
9. The Festival’s Child Protection Policy and approach to Creating Safer Festivals for Everyone is published explicitly in our Syllabus, Programme and Website. By completing and signing the entry form all parents/guardians/carers and teachers of performers under 18 (or vulnerable adults of any age) confirm that they give (or have obtained) the necessary consents for the performers to take part in the Festival. Without consent the entry to the Festival cannot be accepted.

FIRE RISK Following fire risk assessment of the venues, all scenery and props brought to the venues must be fire-proofed and corridors must be kept clear of props and scenery at all times.