Festival Rules


  1. Refunds will NOT be provided unless the festival cancels or refuses an entry.

  2. The festival reserves the right to divide or combine classes.

  3. Where age limits are specified, participants must be of the prescribed age on December 31st of the year prior to the festival to be entered.

  4. All competitors must be amateurs. For the purpose of these competitions, an amateur shall be defined as: a music student or any person whose principal means of livelihood is not obtained from performing or teaching in the particular discipline in which they are competing. The competitor may from time to time receive remuneration for musical or acting services rendered, but not on a full time basis. Competitors who are full or junior members of either ACTRA or EQUITY are considered professional and are ineligible for recommendation to the Provincial Competition, unless they are competing in a different discipline that is not in line with the reason for their ACTRA or EQUITY membership.

  5. Conductors may be either professional or amateur. Conductors may not play with their orchestra or ensemble.

  6. Please note that the festival will run on weekdays and Saturdays, from 8:30am until 9:00pm, and classes may be scheduled at any time during that period. Participants are expected to be present at their scheduled time, and no changes will be made once the program has been set.


  1. RCM stands for the Royal Conservatory of Music and CC stands for Conservatory Canada. The most recent Conservatory Syllabus edition must be used. Crossover times in the event of a new syllabus will be observed as in either Conservatory.

  2. All pieces must be performed from memory. The use of music will result in adjudication only, with no mark given. Exceptions are noted in individual classes.

  3. Unless otherwise specified in the RCM or CC syllabus, all instrumental pieces must be played without repeats. Da Capos and Dal Segnos must be observed.

  4. Time limits, where specified, will be strictly enforced.

  5. Vocal, strings and woodwinds participants must provide their own live accompaniment. Exceptions are noted in individual classes. Accompanist fees are not included in registration fees.

  6. All participants must supply an original copy of their music for the adjudicator. Accompanists must have original music with them, however may use photocopies from which to play.


  1. All entries must be received by February 29 and accompanied by the correct fee stated for each class. Late entries will not be accepted.

  2. It is the responsibility of teachers to ensure that students have registered with the correct repertoire in the appropriate classes.

  3. Entry fees will not be refunded.

  4. Online registrations are payable only by credit card.

  5. A selection may not be used in more than one class. Repertoire performed the previous year in the Hamilton Music Festival may not be repeated.

  6. Participants are limited to one entry per class unless otherwise noted.

  7. For grade/level classes, participants must enter at their current level of study, however they may enter one class at one level higher.

  8. Participants entering graded classes must not have completed a conservatory exam at that grade level prior to the winter session of previous calendar year.

  9. For all duet, trio and ensemble classes, the teacher must register for the participants.

  10. Participants' schedules will be available online in March. Parents, teachers and accompanists who have been linked to the participant will also be able to view the schedules.


  1. Adjudicators' decisions are final.

  2. Adjudicators may not evaluate their own students.

  3. Participants may be required to certify that the festival rules have been followed. If an infringement occurs, adjudication may be given, but no mark awarded.

  4. The adjudicator will discuss the performance of each participant, but only the marks of the top three performers may be publicly announced. All participants will receive the adjudicator's written comments.

  5. To be considered for a scholarship, a student must enter and participate in two or more classes in the same discipline. (Exceptions: music writing / choirs) All scholarships are awarded at the discretion of the adjudicators. Note: Classical voice and Musical theatre are two different disciplines.

  6. Questions should be directed to the secretary or the festival coordinator, not to the adjudicator.

  7. Our adjudicators may recommend participants from the festival to compete in the provincials (Ontario Music Festivals Association.) To be eligible for recommendation to proceed to the provincials, soloists must enter and perform in a minimum of either one concert class or two solo classes. Students from level one to associate are eligible to be recommended to the OMFA provincial festival. Duets are also eligible for provincial recommendation. Musical Theatre participants can be recommended from ages 6 and up. Adult classes and pop classes have been added at the provincial level.

** Those hoping to receive a recommendation to advance to the provincials, please visit: www.omfa.ca for the requirements.