About the Watford Festival

The Watford Festival was established over 70 years ago and has grown from strength to strength to become one of the largest and most respected in the UK. It aims to encourage people of all ages to perform in the areas of Music, Speech and Drama by providing an opportunity to perform before an adjudicator and an audience.

The Festival is held in February and March every year. It is a competitive festival and there are classes for both children and adults available. Classes are divided into the following sections:

ChoralVocalPianoforteStringsCarnaticWoodwind & Brass and Speech & Drama.

The Festival receives many hundreds of entries every year, involving hundreds of participants. It offers a unique opportunity for these participants to experience performing in front of an audience and to receive expert advice and encouragement.


We are currently planning how the 2021 Festival is to be organised. As you might imagine, the pandemic and consequent societal changes makes this exceptionally difficult. However, we are currently considering two possible approaches:

  1. Run some sections of the Festival in physical venues, live, with reduced numbers in order to comply with social distancing regulations in accordance with the overriding priority to keep competitors, visitors and organisers as safe as possible.
  2. Run some sections of the Festival online, using an Internet platform such as Zoom. This might involve either live performances or pre-recorded performances, but this will depend on individual section organisers and what technology support is available.
It may be that it makes no sense to run certain sections and classes, in which case these classes would not be offered for the 2021 Festival. We would hope to be back as normal for the 2022 Festival, but this depends entirely on the course of the pandemic and our ability as a society to deal with it.

Current thinking regarding individual sections is as follows:

  • Choral - as this requires people to be in close proximity to one another, it is not possible to even rehearse for choral performances. Thus, the Choral section will not be offered in 2021.
  • Vocal - this section will not be offered in 2021.
  • Woodwind and Brass - as these classes involve blowing, which exacerbates the spread of the virus, it will be very difficult to run teaching and rehearsals. Thus, the Woodwind and Brass section will not be offered in 2021.
  • Strings - planning to run a reduced set of classes in 2021.
For the other sections, options are being considered at present. We will update this page with more news about our plans for the 2021 Festival as soon as we have it.


Speech and Drama 2020 winners

Carnatic 2020 winners

Photos from the 2019 Festival