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Rules & Regulations

Who May Perform

The Stratford & East London Music Festival is open to amateurs only, except the Open Classes which are also open to professionals.

An amateur is considered as one who does not derive the main part of his/ her income from the subject entered.

Students under 18 years of age are considered to be amateurs for the purposes of the competitions.

Where age limits apply, they refer to the competitor’s age on 1 September of the year prior to the festival.

For group entries, the class is determined by the age of the oldest competitor in the group, unless the class is ‘Open’.

Unless otherwise stated, competitors may perform once only in each class, except in duet, trio or ensemble classes, where a competitor may perform more than once, provided that a different part is performed.

Solo competitors may not enter a class if, for three consecutive years, they have been the winner of that class.

Solo competitors may not enter a class if they have received tuition from the adjudicator in the last two years.

Conductors may not sing with their choirs.

How To Enter

Online Entries: Entries may be made online.

Postal Entries: All postal entries must be made on the official entry form which may be found in the centre of the syllabus. It can also be downloaded from our website. Photocopies are acceptable.

Completed postal entries should be sent to:

Hilary Rothera
Entries Secretary
113 Prospect Road
Woodford Green


All postal entries must be sent with the entry fees and a self-addressed, stamped envelope, large enough to take an A5 sheet unfolded (C5 envelope). Remember that a ‘Large Letter’ costs more in postage.

Cheques should be made payable to ‘Stratford & East London Music Festival’.

Entry fees cannot be returned except for classes cancelled by the decision of the committee. Entries for more than one class may be included on the same form.

The trustees are prepared to offer limited assistance with travel costs in the case of hardship for Junior and Infant School Choirs only. Please contact the Festival Secretary.

Data Protection

Under the terms of GDPR, the Stratford & East London Music Festival undertakes not to pass on any information about competitors or members, and to use such information only for the purpose of the festival.

Before The Event

Information will be sent to competitors at least ten days before the date of the competition. Where there is only one entrant in a class, that entrant will be informed and given the opportunity to withdraw and have his/ her fee returned. The committee reserves the right to limit, cancel or subdivide any class, or to combine two similar classes, or to transfer classes from one day to another. In exceptional circumstances, there may be a change of adjudicator.

The Performance

Only stewards, performers and their accompanists will be allowed in the performing area.

Copies of ‘own choice’ pieces must be handed to the adjudicator’s steward before their performance.

The candidate’s name and class number should be written on every copy.

The festival is bound by copyright law and cannot allow tape, video, mobile phone or any form of recording equipment to be used. It is in breach of copyright and is an offence. The individual as well as the festival may be fined.

In the large group competitions held at St Mary’s Church, photographs may be taken of the group at the end of each performance, provided that this complies with parent’s wishes and/ or the individual school’s policy on this matter. In all other sections, only officials of the festival may take photographs.

Please refer to our Child Protection Policy for further information.


The adjudicators’ decisions are final. Awards may be withheld if, in the opinion of the adjudicator, sufficient merit is not shown. 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.

Adjudications and certificates are normally available at the end of each class.

NB Competitors who do not perform at the scheduled time will not receive any marks.

Marking System

First prize winners, who gain 84% or above, are awarded either trophies or medals. In classes where there are ten or more entries, a second place medal is awarded.

The British and International Federation of Festivals (BIFF) has agreed the following descriptors for use by adjudicators and certificates will be awarded as follows:

  • Outstanding: 90% and over. An exceptional performance, both technically and artistically.

  • Distinction: 87% to 89%. An excellent performance technically and artistically.

  • Commended: 84% to 86%. A convincing performance technically and artistically.

  • Merit: 81% to 83%. A capable performance showing some artistic appreciation and/ or technical ability.

  • Moderate: 78% to 80%. A performance showing development of technique and or communication. 

  • Fair: 75% to 77%. A performance limited in its communication.

Time Limits

Time limits must be observed. If a competitor chooses to introduce their item, this must be included in the overall time limit where set. The performance may be stopped if the time limit is exceeded.

Set Pieces

If any difficulty arises in obtaining the set pieces, please contact the section convenor.

Own Choice Pieces

Full details of the title and composer/ author of ‘own choice’ items must be shown on the entry form. Any competitor who does not perform their stated choice will receive adjudication but will NOT receive marks or a certificate or be eligible for an award, or any prize.

Any competitor who fails to provide a copy of their ‘own choice’ piece will receive adjudication but will NOT receive marks or a certificate.

Competitors may not perform the same ‘own choice’ in more than one class – except for Millennium classes.


For speech and drama competitors, it is not necessary to seek copyright permission to perform poetry, prose or solo dramatic items.

Competitors entering duologues and group dramatic activity classes must contact publishers for permission to perform and pay the required fee.

Competitors must produce evidence of copyright clearance.

Items must be announced with title and author at the time of performance.

Words or gender of a character must not be changed.

For Music competitors, if the ‘own choice’ composition is from a large publication and the piece is not published separately, one copy may be made for the use of the adjudicator. The copy will be retained and destroyed after the competition.

The accompanist should always be given a printed copy of the music.

Music which has been downloaded from the internet must be accompanied by the permission statement which accompanies the music.


The availability of an official accompanist is subject to competitors stating on the entry form that they require this service. There is an additional fee and this must be sent with the entry.

It is generally possible 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 (eg lieder, recital and grade 5 and above) should be sent to the Entries Secretary, SELMF, 113 Prospect Road, Woodford Green, Essex, IG8 7ND.

The accompaniments supplied must be in the correct key.

The use of a ‘backing’ CD or cassette tape is acceptable provided that it does not infringe any copyright restrictions.


Trophies and/ or medals will normally be presented after the class. Trophies which are awarded for the highest marks in a particular section will be presented during the Young Musician Competition, usually held on the evening of the last Saturday of the festival.

All cups and trophies remain the property of the Stratford & East London Music Festival. They are held by the winners for eleven months and must be returned in the January before the next festival.

Winners must sign for receipt of the cup or trophy.

Winners are required to enter into a bond of safe custody of the cup or trophy and to bear the cost if they wish to have their names engraved on it.

Admission To Competitions

Competitors and their accompanists are admitted without charge.

Children of school age and competitors’ music/ drama teachers are admitted without charge.

Friends of the Festival are admitted without charge.

Other visitors will be required to pay a small fee for admission.


If you require further clarification of any of the rules and regulations, please contact the Festival Secretary.

If you have a query concerning a particular section of the festival, please contact the convenor for that section.

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