Frequently Asked Questions

Registration, deadlines and emails

Q.What is registration?

Registration is a one-time thing you have to do to obtain a login on this website. A login is usually your email address[1]. A login goes along with a password, and you need to use these to log into the website to manage your Festival entries.

Registration normally opens in mid-October every year and lasts until around the first or second week of December that year. When registration opens, the home page of this website will indicate any deadline date when registration closes. After registration closes, you will no longer be able to register, and therefore no longer be able to add entries for the Festival. You may, however, be able to add entries for your children/pupils through a friend or teacher who has already registered before the deadline.

The deadline for adding and paying for your Festival entries is around mid-December, a week after the registration deadline. The exact deadline will be shown on the home page when registration opens.

Remember, if you've already registered, for example in a previous year, you don't need to register again.

To register, you fill in a short form giving your name (not your child's name),  your email address, telephone number and postal address. Once you've submitted it, you'll get an email telling you how to log in. Once you've logged in, you can change your password for future logins and manage your entries for the current Festival year. Any entrants you added in previous years will be remembered.

This initial email may not come particularly quickly. Please don't re-register with a different email address just because you haven't received an email after a few minutes. Also, make sure to check your Junk Mail or other spam mail folder to ascertain whether our email has ended up there.

The reason why the initial email can take a while is that we have to do manual checks of new registrations. This is because people sometimes register multiple times with different emails, even though we ask them not to. This creates an additional support burden for us which we are not equipped to deal with.

Password reset emails, on the other hand, don't take very long - five or ten minutes at most, unless something is amiss. They are completely automated. If you have registered before but forgotten your password, going to the login page, adding your email address and clicking Forgot password will result in a password reset email being sent to you. Remember to check your Junk Mail folder for these, too.

Q.Can I register once the deadline for registration is past?
A. We don't accept registrations after the registration deadline, unless the website was down for a period just before the deadline. If you miss the registration deadline, all we can suggest is that you add your entries through a friend or teacher who's already registered. You'll have to pay them for your entries, and they will have to pay us through the site.
Q.Can I add entries once the deadline for entries is past?
A. We don't accept entries after the entries deadline, unless the website was down for a period just before the deadline. If you miss the entries deadline, all we can suggest is that you try again next year. Remember, you need to be registered before the registration deadline in order to add your entries.
Q.It's past the entry deadline, and I've realised that a particular performer can't perform on the allotted day / allotted time. Can I get a refund?
A. Regrettably, no. We have costs of hiring theatres and adjudicators which are not refundable, so we cannot in general offer refunds once the entry deadline has closed.
Q.Emails from the Festival keep ending up in my Junk Mail/Spam folder. What can I do about this?
A. This sometimes happens because the algorithms used by big email providers (e.g. GMail, Hotmail/Outlook) are not perfect at spam detection. To avoid this happening, you can mark any email you find from us as "Not Junk" / "Not Spam" and add our email address to your "Safe Senders" list. Do an Internet search for "safe senders XXX", where "XXX" is your email provider, to see how to do this for your specific situation. Email from "safe senders" is generally delivered to your Inbox rather than your spam folder.

Managing Entries

Q.What do you mean by entrant?

An entrant is a performer in the Festival. It could be an individual child or an ensemble or group. When you log in to manage your entries, you should see tabs for "Manage Entrants" and "Manage Entries". If you have not entered (a particular entrant) for the Festival before you need to add them via "Manage Entrants" before you can add entries for them in "Manage Entries".

To add an entrant, you need to specify the first name and last name (for an individual) or school name and group name (for a group) for the entrant. You'll need to specify if the entrant is a group/ensemble or not. If it's an individual, you'll be asked for a date of birth (for music sections) or an academic year (Speech & Drama). You can select the relevant section to work with when you log in. If you give the date of birth, that will be used to work out the School Year for Speech & Drama, so you shouldn't need to enter both if you've specified a birthdate.

You don't need to add individual entries for people who are only performing in ensembles and groups. Just add the group itself as an entrant. You only need to add individuals as entrants if they are going to be performing in solo classes or Speech & Drama Duologue classes. For course, if someone is performing both in solo/duologue classes, they should be entered as individuals for the solo class. If you are adding an individual, even if they are performing as part of a group, make sure the "This entrant is a group" checkbox remains unchecked. You need to provide the birthdate or school year for all entrants who are performing in solo/Duologue classes.

Q.Some buttons are greyed out and I can't do what I need to do. Why is this, and what do I do about it?
A. If buttons are greyed out, hover over them with the mouse for a second or two. You should see a little popup "tooltip" which gives the reason a particular button is disabled. If you think the reason isn't valid, you can contact us for discussion. For example, if you want to amend an entry (e.g. to add or amend pieces to be performed), you need to select an entry from the list on the left to indicate to the system which entry you want to amend. If you don't do this, the "Update Entry" button will be greyed out. If you don't set e.g. the class or performer for an entry, then the "Add Entry" button will be greyed out.
Q.A button isn't greyed out, but clicking on it doesn't seem to do anything. Why is this, and what do I do about it?
A. Depending on your computer screen size and the browser window size, it's possible that the footer bar of the Festival website (which shows links to Terms and Conditions, Privacy Policy and a copyright notice) is overlapping the buttons, so that clicking on what appears to be the button is actually a transparent part of the footer, which doesn't respond to clicks in those parts. Use the browser controls to maximise your browser window and make the font size smaller so that everything fits in the browser window without overlapping. If you still have problems after doing this, do contact us.
Q.I'm not sure about the various parts of the Manage Entries tab, where can I get more help?
A. The "Manage Entries" tab has numerous icons around it, and clicking on these will display a popup which provides more information about that part of the page.
Q.I keep getting weird errors, and I'm not sure why. What do I need to check?
A. The site is only tested with recent versions of Firefox and Chrome browsers on laptop and desktop PCs. Mobile browsers (phone or tablet) can give rise to odd errors as they don't fully conform to modern web standards. The same is true for Safari, Internet Explorer and Microsoft Edge browsers on laptops and desktops. If you get errors that can't be explained by using an unsupported platform or browser, please contact us. We log errors that happen on the server and look into them automatically.
Q.Is your site secure for payments?
A. The site is secure - we don't keep any credit card details on our site, and card processing is done by an industry-leading secure payments processing company.
Q.What is meant by "Number of programmes you'd like" on the "Manage Entries" tab?
A. The Festival produces a multi-page printed programme which lists all the events in the Festival with dates, times, venues and the names of individual performers. A programme will usually be available for you to buy when you come to a Festival venue. Some people (usually teachers) ask to be sent a programme as soon as they are printed, before the Festival even starts. These programmes are posted out to those who request them and the charge is slightly higher than the cost of buying a programme on the day, to cover postage costs. If you don't want a programme sent in advance, you can make the "number of programmes you'd like" zero before paying for your entries.
Q.I haven't finished adding all my entries. Can you tell me on which date a particular class will be held?
A. Not in general. Because our timetables depend on how many entries have been received for each class, timetabling only starts after the entry deadline - i.e. when all the entries are in. We send out timetable information with date/time/venue for each class entered for, to the parents and teachers who have made the entries. Until then, all you have to go on is the informaton on our Diary page. (Timetables are usually sent out in early January via email, and are also available for Speech & Drama when you log in via the "Printable Views" tab.)
Q.We can't attend the Festival on particular dates or particular days of the week (e.g. Sabbath) or particular times of day. What can we do about this?
A. Against each entry, there is a "Notes for the Section administrator" box into which you can enter any constraints for that particular entry. When timetabling, we will try as far as possible to accommodate those constraints. However, we cannot guarantee to meet all constraints - it's a "best endeavours" approach we take.
Q.It's before the entry deadline, and I've added some entries I didn't mean to. Can I delete them and get a refund?
A. Before the entry deadline, you can add, delete and update entries as you please. The system will keep a running total of your balance. If you have already paid before the deadline and delete some entries after that, or change to classes with a lower entry fee, then you can get a refund. If you pay by card, you can use the "Process Repayment" button that replaces the "Pay with Card" button if you have money owing to you. Just use the same card details as you paid with, and the amount will be refunded to your card in a few days. If you pay by BACS, it will take longer to get a refund, as we have to go to our Treasurer to issue a cheque - and this can take quite a bit longer, e.g. if our Treasurer is travelling on work! (The Festival is entirely volunteer-operated apart from the adjudicators.)
Q.It's after the deadline and I added all my entries, but didn't pay for some or all of them. What happens now?
A. You will still be able to pay after the deadline - you just won't be able to add or remove entries. If no payment is received, we reserve the right to reject your entries, by just not including them in the timetable. This will be very disappointing for all concerned, so please pay promptly. We cannot say how soon after the entry deadline the timetabling process will start (each Section does its own thing), but once timetabling has started, it may be too late to include unpaid-for entries in the Festival.
Q.How do I add or change pieces for my entries?

Adding a piece to an entry requires that (a) the piece is known to the system and (b) that the piece is associated with an entry. Many commonly performed pieces are in the system already, so you often don't need to do anything special to ensure (a).

  1. In the "Manage Entries" tab, select the entry for which you want to add or change a piece from the list on the left of the page. (The list will appear above the text "Number of programmes you'd like to pre-order". If you don't see the list, maximise your browser window and minimise the browser font size until you do see it. To make the browser font smaller, press Ctrl and minus together a number of times - each time, the font should get smaller.) The highlighted entry will display a blue background with white text, and the entry's details will appear in the fields on the right.
  2. Click the box under the text "The piece to be performed". You should see a list of pieces appear, unless you are adding pieces in a Music section - in that case, you can just type the name of the piece, optionally followed by the name of the composer in round brackets, and then pressing the Enter key.
  3. Start typing in the title of the piece, using the most unusual word in it to find a match more quickly. Entries matching what you type will appear in the list.
  4. If the Speech & Drama piece you want doesn't appear in the list, switch to the "Manage Pieces" tab and add the piece by entering the name of the piece and the author, and then clicking "Add piece". As you type into either name or author fields, a list of matching pieces already in our system will appear, so that you don't enter it again with a slightly different spelling. Once you have added your piece(s), go back to "Manage Entries" and step no. 1 in this list. The piece you just added should now appear in the list.
  5. Once you have selected the desired piece from the list, click "Update entry" and you should see the piece appear against the entry in the list on the left.
  6. Do this for each Own Choice entry where no piece is specified.

Note that you (a) don't actually upload anything to the website, merely add the names of thre pieces and their authors (if not already on the system) and then associate them with individual entries, and (b) You still need to print clean legible copies of own choice pieces to bring with you on the days of the performance, to be handed to the adjudicator before the performance begins.

Scheduling of Classes

Q.When and how do I find out when the classes for my children / pupils will be scheduled?

Once all the entries are in, the process of timetabling begins, with each Section of the Festival (Speech & Drama, Pianoforte, Vocal etc.) doing their own timetables. Once that's done, which is usually in the early part of January, the dates and times of specific classes will be known, and someone from each Section where you've made entries should contact you with the timetable. If you need to ask anything specific, please contact the relevant Section Secretary. If a Section Secretary provides a downloadable timetable to the webmaster, that timetable will be added to the website and a link provided to it.

A Speech & Drama timetable for entries you've made is available if you log in and navigate to the "Printable Views" tab, There, you'll see a link "Speech & Drama timetable (PDF)" which will allow you to view/download the timetable.


Q.What actually happens during a class?
A. Performers should aim to reach the venue around 15 minutes before the start of a class. Once the class starts, each performer in the class gives their performance in turn, in front of an adjudicator and an audience. While a performance is in progress, the adjudicator makes notes about the performance, which will be given as feedback to the performer. Once all the performers in a class have completed their performances, the adjudicator will give feedback about the performances and what qualities they are looking for in performances, and will usually award first, second and third places to the best performers. Each performer also gets a certificate as well as the written feedback from the adjudicator about their performance.
Q.Do visitors need to pay to watch a class?
A. Adults who come to watch performances need to pay an admission fee to come in and watch. This is separate from the entry fee payable when entries are added by teachers or parents. There is no admission fee payable for competitors, infants or people in full-time education. You can buy a day ticket (which is valid for the day of purchase for all sections of the Festival), or a season ticket (which is valid for all days except the finales day, and for all sections of the Festival).
[1] Except for a few people who have used this website for a long time, who have short usernames rather than email addresses.