Festival Rules

Please note that an amendment to the rules has been made to Rule #4; please review below


  1. The festival reserves the right to refuse any entry or cancel any class. Excepting the above, entry fees will not be refunded.
  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 classes are open to amateurs.
    1. For the purpose of these competitions an amateur shall be defined as: “a music student, performer or any person whose principal means of livelihood is not derived from the performance in the particular discipline in which they are competing.
    2. The competitor may from time to time receive remuneration for musical or acting services rendered, but not on a full time basis.
    3. Competitors who are full or junior members of either ACTRA or EQUITY are considered professional and are ineligible for recommendation from the Hamilton Music Festival to the Provincial Music Festival (OMFA), unless they are competing in a discipline that is not in-line with the ACTRA or EQUITY membership. For example, a Music Theatre EQUITY member may still be considered for a provincial recommendation in Classical Voice, or other instrument. Please note that the same rule will be applied when awarding scholarships to participants.
  5. Please note that the festival may 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 perform 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.
  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, 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 and strings participants must provide their own live accompanist. No recorded accompaniment.
  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 15 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. No receipts will be issued, and entry fees will not be refunded.
  4. Cheques should be made payable to Hamilton Music Festival and mailed to: 611 Holly Hill Cres, Burlington, Ontario, L7L 3Z8, Attention: Festival Coordinator.
  5. An NSF fee of $35.00 will be charged when applicable. Any subsequent payments will then be made in cash or by money order.
  6. A selection may not be used in more than one class. Repertoire previously performed in the Hamilton Music Festival may not be repeated.
  7. Participants are limited to one entry per class unless otherwise noted.
  8. Participants must enter at their current level of study, however they may enter one class at one level higher.
  9. Participants entering graded classes must not have completed a conservatory exam at that grade level prior to December 31 of previous calendar year.
  10. For all duet, trio and ensemble classes, only one participant must register and pay the class fee. Please remember to list all partners.
  11. Participants’ schedules showing dates of competition will be forwarded to the student, teacher and accompanist.


  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 will 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. All scholarships are awarded at the discretion of the adjudicators.
  6. Questions should be directed to the secretary or the festival coordinator, not the adjudicator.
  7. Our adjudicators may recommend participants from the festival to compete in the Ontario Music Festival, which is held in June. To be eligible for recommendation to proceed to the provincials, a participant must enter and perform in a minimum of either a concert class or two solo classes.
  8. Every participant will receive a certificate. A burgundy seal (exceptional) is given for marks 92 and higher. Gold seals are for marks between 87 and 91. Silver seals are awarded for marks between 82 and 86. Marks between 77 and 81 will receive a bronze seal. In addition, the top three marks in each class will be awarded a first, second and third place sticker.

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