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Notes & Rules

These apply to ALL Sections
Please Read Carefully 

Please note also our page on possible Covid precautions.

AGE is taken as on 1st September IMMEDIATELY BEFORE the Festival. Incorrect age will lead to disqualification.

BEGINNERS Those learning a particular skill for less than two years.

GRADE CLASSES Where grades are set, the piece should be appropriate to that grade. A competitor may not enter a class lower than the grade they have already achieved. Or where several grades are grouped together the piece should be appropriate to the grade the performer is working at and will be adjudicated accordingly.

OPEN CLASSES Anyone, of any age, professional or amateur may compete at a level beyond Grade 8 standard.

CONDUCTORS FOR MUSIC CLASSES (choirs & orchestras) may conduct in more than one class. They must not sing or make any sound. Please bring own music stands.

OWN CHOICE CLASSES Legible scripts/scores/manuscripts must be given to the Adjudicator’s Steward with a postcard stating class number, entrant’s name, author, title, & publisher when the competitor is called; please do not send them in advance. No set piece may be used again as an Own Choice. Choices from all recent and current Guildhall, Trinity, LAMDA & ABRSM lists (or equivalent) will be acceptable.

PHOTOCOPIES When an Own Choice is selected from a publication containing several works and is not published separately, one copy may be made for the use of the Adjudicator provided the competitor has already purchased his/her own copy and that the copy made is subsequently destroyed. This permission does not apply to set works. Details of all items performed at this Festival are required by the Performing Rights Society.

RECORDED ACCOMPANIMENTS  These are permitted if you do not have access to a suitable live accompanist, but must be only instrumental tracks (ie no recorded vocals), and no amplification of the soloist is permitted. The Festival is affiliated to the British & International Federation of festivals and participates in its Group Licence covering fees for the use of recorded music. Teachers using recordings created from commercial recordings must themselves obtain permission to re-record from the record companies concerned.

TIME LIMITS Maximum timings are listed for each class: you may perform in less time if you wish, but marks may be lost for exceeding the time limit. Any performance exceeding the time limit may be terminated by the Adjudicator.

NON-COMPETITIVE ENTRIES may be accepted for any class. If this is clearly stated on the entry form, only oral and written criticisms will be given (no mark or trophy).

SUBSTITUTION of competitors only under exceptional circumstances, and by prior agreement of the Committee whose decision is final.

REFUND of ENTRY FEES We do not normally make refunds, but may do so at the discretion of the Committee. Where refunds are made, an Administration Fee of 10% of the fee will be levied.

MOBILE TELEPHONES must be silenced.

AUDITION CONDITIONS are required throughout. Coaching in any form will lead to immediate disqualification.

NO SMOKING in any part of the Festival venue, at any time.

SELECTING DATES & TIMES Classes are mostly heard during the day, but we try to organise the timetable so that adults and older children are heard in the evening. Organising the programme is complex, and although the Committee does try to accommodate requests for specific performance dates and times, such requests cannot always be met and this cannot be taken as a reason for a refund of fees paid.

PROGRAMME TIMES – are approximate and competitors may be asked to perform (at the Adjudicator’s discretion) up to 15 minutes earlier than scheduled.

ADJUDICATION in all cases, the adjudicator’s decision is final, and not open to debate. Adjudicators are highly experienced experts in their field. They advise, encourage and sometimes admonish. Entering the Festival is a rare opportunity to obtain criticism at the highest level as a performer, and although there are inevitably fewer winners than candidates, it is those who act upon the adjudicator’s remarks who gain most.

RECORDING & PHOTOGRAPHY – The Festival is bound by copyright law and cannot allow any type of photography, audio or video recording, all of which are absolutely forbidden during performances or adjudication. Please also refer to our Safeguarding Policy.

Please also refer to our Safeguarding Policy

TROPHIES will be presented to Winners gaining a minimum Certificate Level of Commendation. They must be returned in good condition by 15th February to the Trophies Officer  (trophiesatdpafdotorgdotuk)  . If in doubt, please contact any member of the Committee (see list of Festival Officials). Trophies may be appropriately engraved at the winner’s expense.

The Committee reserves the right to award different trophies to those listed here.

Several trophies are awarded on the strength of performances in more than one class. Claims for these awards must be lodged with Festival officials by the last day of the competitions. No claims can be considered after this. If in any doubt please make a claim.. Some classes have no trophies allocated yet. We invite the donation of trophies for these.


Devon Performing Arts Festival uses the category marking system of the British and International Federation of Festivals. Competitors will be placed into categories as below.

A winner will usually be named, and possibly one or more runners-up.

CERTIFICATE DESCRIPTORS (qualities recognisable in the performance)
Honours Outstanding performance technically and artistically
Distinction Excellent performance technically and artistically
Commendation Convincing performance technically and artistically
Merit Capable performance showing artistic appreciation and/ or technical ability

Performance showing some promise in technique and/or communication

VOLUNTEERS We are constantly seeking ‘new blood’ to support the Festival’s work and future plans. Please telephone or email the Administrator our Administrator  (adminatdevonpafdotorgdotuk)   if you are interested in becoming involved.

HALL OF FAME We are currently preparing records of the many entrants who have been launched on their performing careers by their early efforts in the Devon Performing Arts Festival. It may be assumed that we know who they all are – we don’t. The type of thing we are looking for is “Did you know that X first sang at the Devon Festival in 1981 at the age of 8 and is now an Opera Singer touring with the YZ Opera Company?” Please tell us. Once we are satisfied that we’ve included as many as we can, we hope to publish the results. We should also welcome information about the history of any of the Devon Festival trophies for our website.

GALA CONCERT  Following the four weeks of the Festival competitions we invite some of the most outstanding acts from each discipline to perform in front of a large public audience. Some of the major awards will be presented. The Gala Concert is an impressive showcase of the Region’s talent as displayed throughout the Festival, and will be produced and presented by festival entrants.