What happens at the festival?
You’ve submitted your entry or entries. What happens next?
Once all the entries are received, the festival organisers set about scheduling them. When this has been done, you’ll receive an email with details of the date, time and place for each of your entries. If you haven’t heard anything by the end of October, please check your junk folder and, if there’s nothing from the festival there, get in touch with the section secretary.
On the day, please aim to arrive in plenty of time, so that you can park, get to the venue and feel comfortably settled. If it’s your first time, you might like to see some other classes before yours so that you get an idea of what happens.
Please don’t forget to bring a copy of your piece(s) for the adjudicator. If you’re performing in one of the classes where a backing track is permitted, you’ll need to bring the apparatus to play it, as well. There are no facilities for buying refreshments at any of the venues, so be prepared. Food and drink are not allowed in the performance halls themselves.
What should I wear?
It won’t change anything in the assessment but consider what to wear. Remember that you are giving a performance and your audience will have certain expectations. It’s obviously important that you feel comfortable, though.
What should I do when I arrive at the venue?
At the venue, there’ll be someone at the desk to check you in and to take payment from any audience members. Please note that all adults, including teachers and parents, who are not directly involved in the performance (i.e. who are either themselves entering the festival or who are accompanying one or more performances in it on the piano or other instrument) should pay for admission. The festival costs about £10,000 a year to run, and entry fees do not cover this.
If there are no performances going on, you can go straight into the hall, but otherwise you will be asked to wait for a suitable break. No-one is allowed in while someone is performing or the adjudicator is speaking. This is a good time to make sure that all mobile phones are switched off! Also, please wait quietly so as not to disturb the performance in the hall.
At St John’s Church, there is a room where you can wait which has a piano, and where you can warm up but it must be done quietly. The sound proofing is pretty good but it’s not perfect! Fortissimo (or even just forte) playing can be heard in the nave and may disrupt performances in there.
How do the performances run?
When the time for your class comes, you will be invited to the front where you will be seated in performing order and asked to hand over the copy of your piece for the adjudicator. Please note that, if this is a photocopy, it will not be returned afterwards. (See section III.10 of the guidelines.)
Please note that, for various reasons, no photography or recording of any performance is permitted. This includes parents recording their own children. If time allows, it may be possible to arrange posed photographs at the end.
Each performer will come to the performing area in turn. If you need to set the stage or tune an instrument you can do this when the previous player has finished, but please don’t begin to play/speak until the platform steward has announced you. The adjudicator may not be ready and still be writing the report for the previous performer.
Don’t feel you have to go straight in when the time comes. Make yourself comfortable by adjusting the piano stool, for example, or taking a moment or two to compose yourself before you begin.
One or two classes require a spoken announcement, but, even if yours doesn’t, it’s a nice thing to do. It only needs a few words (“Hello. I’m John Smith and I’m going to play Für Elise by Beethoven.”) but it helps you to connect with the audience. If you think it would only add to your nerves (everyone, however relaxed they appear, has them), then it’s in no way essential.
At the end, enjoy the applause and don’t forget to acknowledge it by bowing, and then go back to your seat.
Quite often two or three classes will be run one after the other before the adjudication, expecially if there are only one or two entries in a particular class, so, if you’ve entered more than one class and the notification gives the same start time for them all, this will be why.
The adjudicator will speak about and to each performer. It’s usually a summary of what they’ve written, so don’t feel you have to take in every word, but it’s nice to hear what they’ve got to say about the other performances. You can pick up tips even if they weren’t directed at you. Remember that, although Woking is a competitive festival, the aim is to give people the chance to perform and to learn from others.
The adjudicator will say who’s won each class and present certificates to all the performers at the end, as well as any trophy associated with that class. If you win one, please don’t leave without letting us have your contact details. Someone will probably approach you, but ask someone at the desk, if they don’t. Younger winners will get a festival medal, which they can keep. Winners of the other trophies will be asked to return them in September ready to be handed out at the next festival.
Once you’ve performed, you’re free to go, of course, but you might like to stay and hear what other people are doing and you’re very welcome to do that.
If you have any questions at all, please contact the section secretary who’ll be happy to answer them.
If there’s a last minute problem, you would do better to call or text 07884 795394, which will put you in touch with someone on the box office desk. If the day’s classes are about to begin or have already begun, the section secretary won’t be available.