Rules and Regulations


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 2020. 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.



Closing date for entries: 31 January 2021

Closing date for video submissions: 12 February 2021

Entries must be made online at

NB There are no postal entries for the 2021 festival, and we will not be accepting payment by cheque.



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.



The adjudicators’ decisions are final. Awards may be withheld if, in the opinion of the adjudicator, sufficient merit is not shown. Adjudications will be shared with competitors by 28 February 2021.



The British and International Federation of Festivals 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 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.



If any difficulty arises in obtaining the set pieces, please contact the Section Convenor.



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. 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.



If you need an accompanist, you can make your own arrangements or you can contact the Official Accompanist Liaison on, who will send you a recorded backing track for you to record yourself against. Fees will apply. The use of a ‘backing’ CD or cassette tape is acceptable provided that it does not infringe any copyright restrictions.



If you have a cup from last year, we would like you to keep it for the time being, until it is safe for it to be recovered. This might not be until 2022. Please take good care of it. If you are no longer able to keep it safely, please contact



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 whose name and telephone number appears at the beginning of that section.