FAQs

Please find a list of help and support questions below. If you are looking for an answer to a question not outlined below, please contact us.


What are the dates for the 2019 festival?

You can find the proposed dates for the 2019 festival on our Dates, Locations & Fees page.


Where will the 2019 festival take place?

You can find the full details of the festival venues on our Dates, Locations & Fees page.


I’m trying to do an online entry, but my entries are quite confusing and I’m not sure how much I should be paying. What can I do?

If your entries are not straightforward, don’t worry as there is plenty of advice available. Simply contact the Entries Secretary.


How do I find out more about becoming a sponsor of the festival?

There are lots of ways to become a sponsor of the festival. Please visit our Get Involved page for more information.


How do I find out more about becoming a Friend of the Festival?

It only costs £10 per year to become a Friend of the Festival. Please visit our Friends of the Festival page to find out more.


Is there a contingency plan for bad weather at the time of the festival?

In the unlikely event of cancellation or change to the festival’s timetable, all details will be posted on the website.


How can I find out about who will be judging my class?

A full list of adjudicators is included in the Syllabus and on our Adjudicators page.


Can photographs or recordings of my performance be taken at the festival?

Due to copyright, no video footage or photographs can be taken of the competitors during their performances. Photographs of the winning competitor will be taken after the event and may be posted on our website.


Who do I contact if there is an emergency on the day?

Please contact the Festival Secretary, Maureen Westcott, on 01708 731101 if you have any problems during the festival.


Are the festival venues wheelchair friendly?

Both venues are wheelchair friendly for those watching performances. Forest School also has chair lifts. Ask at reception when you arrive.


If I was a winner at last year’s festival, will there be classes that I won’t be able to enter this year?

Solo competitors may not enter a class if, for three consecutive years, they have been the winner of that class. Other than that, you can re-enter the same class.


Is there prize money available?

Most of the prizes are trophies or medals. However there are some cash prizes. Please check the Syllabus for all prizes.


Will I be able to keep any cups that I win?

You will be able to keep any cups that you win for one year only. They are the property of the Stratford & East London Music Festival and will need to be returned in January, ready for the next competition. NB You can keep medals though.


Can I pay for my entries with a credit card?

When you use our online entry form, you can pay via PayPal or debit/credit card. Or you can choose to send us a cheque or make a bank transfer.


Do I get a refund if I can’t get to the festival (transport strikes, etc)?

Unfortunately there will be no refunds for any reason.


Can I enter on the day?

Unfortunately you will not be able to enter on the day. NB The closing date for the festival is usually mid January.


Can I enter if I haven’t got access to a computer?

Entries can still be made using the entry form inside the printed version of the Syllabus. Cheques should be made payable to the Stratford and East London Music Festival.


Can I enter as many classes as I want?

As long as you fulfil the entry criteria, you can enter as many classes as you like. However, with a couple of exceptions, you may not enter the same piece in more than one class.


How many categories are there?

There are over 200 categories for music, speech and drama at the festival.


Can my parents/supporters watch me?

Parents and supporters are very welcome to come and watch any of the classes. Spectators are required to pay a small admission fee.


Will I be able to buy refreshments and drinks at the festival?

Refreshments and drinks are not provided at St Mary’s Church, but at Forest School, there is the use of the coffee shop, which sells a range of hot and cold snacks and drinks.


Is there a maximum age to enter the festival?

For the 2019 festival, where age limits apply, age limits refer to the competitor’s age on 1st September 2018. For a group or duet, the age of the oldest performer would count. There is no age limit for open classes.


Is there a minimum age to enter the festival?

There is no minimum age to enter the festival.


When will I be told the dates and times of my class?

You will be notified approximately ten days before the festival starts of the exact dates and times for your classes. Approximate dates for classes are usually included in the Syllabus.


Can I use a backing track to sing along to or do I have to use an accompanist?

It is not a problem if you would prefer to use a backing track for your performance. However, you would need to bring your own system as there is not always equipment available to play a backing track on. If this is something you wish to do, please inform the convenor in advance.


Are there practice rooms available to warm up in?

There will not be a practice room available for the choir competitions at St. Mary’s Church, but there will be a suite of rooms available at Forest School.


Is there a practice room timetable?

A schedule for the practice rooms will be drawn up, allocating each competitor 20 minutes to warm up.


Will there be an accompanist available?

We have two official accompanists available for all music classes. Their availability is subject to competitors stating on their entry form that they require this service. There will be an additional fee and this should be paid at the same time as the entry fee. It is generally possible to have a rehearsal in the period before the actual competitions or to have a short run-through in the hour preceding the class.

Most music can be handed to the accompanist on the day of the competition. More advanced pieces (e.g. lieder, recital, grade 5 and above) should be sent to the accompanist in advance. Please contact your convenor for more information.


Can I bring my own accompanist?

You can use your own accompanist if you would like to. You will still need to bring a copy of your music to hand to the adjudicator.


Is it easier to come by public transport or by car?

Parking is quite limited at St. Mary’s Church, although there are some spaces behind the Doctor’s surgery across the road. There is also a pay and display car park in Derby Road which is a short walk from the church.

For Forest School, parking is also quite limited, although the roads around the school can be used.

Please see our Dates, Locations and Fees page for information on public transport.