Prospective performers and applicants are requested to read the rules before entering. The Chairman, or Session Chairman during the festival, has the discretion to disqualify performers known to have infringed any rule. Every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of the Syllabus, Provisional Timetable and Programme. Any error and/or omission should be notified to the festival chairman as soon as possible.


A1 – Entry rules

Additional entry forms may be photocopied or obtained from the Festival Office. Anyone 18 years and over may submit entries on their own behalf or on behalf of a performer. Persons submitting entries are referred to throughout as the ‘Applicant’.

The Committee reserves the right to:

  • refuse any proposed entry.
  • subdivide classes where the number and type of classes make this desirable.
  • cancel any class deemed unviable.
  • appoint replacement or additional adjudicators and accompanists, and alter, modify or cancel any or all of the arrangements detailed in this Syllabus.

Entry to all classes is by grade of difficulty or age. Entrants should select a class most suited to their playing ability or age group.


Only ONE class should be entered on the form. Applicants wishing to enter more than one class must submit a separate form for each class. (Photocopies are acceptable).

Completed entry forms and the appropriate fee should be returned by the closing date, printed on the form. Any forms received after this date (up to a time at the Chairman’s discretion) will be charged a late entry fee. Receipt of entry will be acknowledged if a stamped addressed envelope is included with the entry form. Cheques, postal and money orders should be crossed and made payable to ‘Inverness Festival Association’. A school teacher or club leader should submit the name of a school or club as ‘place of residence’.


The entry form must previously have been submitted by the closing date.

The following own choice classes do not have to submit an own choice piece:

Accordion AC06 to AC10
Classical Guitar CG06
Barbershop CH29
Gaelic GC03 & GC04, GS17 to GS26, GV17 & GV18, GV29 to GV31
and those classes where it states ‘Appropriate test piece for the National Mod’ is being used.
Music Composition MC05 & MC06
Piping PG01 to PG09
Public Speaking SP20 to SP23
Scottish Instrumental SC01 to SC17
Ukelele UK01 to UK05
Non-competitive CG06, K16, MM07, GV29 to GV31


In open classes the standard of the piece(s) will be taken into consideration in adjudication and in all cases must be of greater difficulty than any preceding Class in the same Section.

The time limit for each performance will be FIVE minutes except where otherwise stated. In all classes where two pieces, or a selection of pieces, are required, the overall performance time must not exceed FIFTEEN minutes.

    • A performance exceeding this time limit will be stopped by the adjudicator.

The time limit of five minutes does not apply to Dance or Bagpipe classes.


Entries to Verse and Music Composition classes must be the entrant’s own work. Two copies of the original composition must be submitted.

Classes MC01 to MC03. Entrants are required to submit an original composition on standard manuscript score consisting of up to and including five parts for any solo instrument or any combination of instruments and/or voices. The composition submitted should be the unaided work of the composer. All entrants will be required to arrange for the performance (including the players) of their composition at the competitive class.

Class MC04. Entrants are required to compose a purely instrumental work or a song to an original or existing text. This composition should reflect, in some way, the spirit and style of Scotland. The instrumental piece should have no more than six parts and be submitted on standard orchestral score. The song should be submitted on standard manuscript score and be set for solo voice with or without accompaniment. It may be either strophic or through composed.

Classes MC05 & MC06. Entrants need not submit a written copy of their work.

A2 – Entry Qualifications & Definitions

To avoid ambiguity, age for Festival entry, where specified, is that attained on 1st February of the Festival year. In some sections, school class is substituted for age. The National Mod age rule applies to Gaelic classes . The committee reserves the right to require proof of school age or school class. Choirs Groups, and Teams must not include performers older than the age/class definition except as Conductor or Accompanist.

Although Primary and Secondary stages are used in defining some classes, entries are welcome from individuals and groups outwith school.

A3 – Performers, Performance & Test Pieces

Permission has been granted by the director of Education to allow school pupils to take part in the Festival within school hours.

Entrants are required to perform in the order printed in the published programme. Only in circumstances such as the entrant being entered in coincident classes will the order be changed. Any such alterations to the published running order must be approved by the Session Chairman, whose decision is final in all matters relating to the competitions.

Test pieces must be performed in the key set unless otherwise stated in the syllabus.

Gaelic Classes. Test pieces may be sung in a key chosen at the performer’s discretion. Test pieces for Gaelic classes may be obtained from An Comunn Gaidhealach, Balnain House, Huntly Street, Inverness.

Scottish Country Dancing. Dances must be performed to the original tunes. Details of choices but not copies of music must be submitted with entry forms. In all classes each set shall contain four couples. No member of any set may dance in another set in the same class.

Group verse speaking. Groups should perform as a choir, not necessarily entirely in unison, and may allow for the introduction of solo or group voices. Each entry must have a minimum of ten voices. However, for entries from 1/2/3 Teacher Schools and Youth Organisations the number may be less.

Conductors & Teachers. Teachers/Tutors are not allowed to play in instrumental groups (except as piano accompaniment) unless otherise stated in the Syllabus.

Conductors are not allowed to sing in choirs.

Electric Instruments. As the sound formed by an electric instrument is different from that produced by an acoustic one, these are deemed incompatible at competition level and are therefore disallowed in all sections apart from Music Making and all Non-Competitive classes.

Accompanied children during the Festival. Primary School pupils and younger must be accompanied by an adult. All teams, groups and choirs etc. must be accompanied by at least two adults who will be responsible for their conduct and care at the Festival.

A4 – Accompanist

The services of an official accompanist are available, on request, to all performers in the following classes only:

Brass B01 to B04
Choral CH01 to CH28
Recorder R01 to R06
Dancing SD01 to SD14
Strings ST01 to ST25, ST29 to ST30
Vocal V101 to V312 (excluding V108 & V109), V401 to V403
Woodwind W01 to W05

If the services of an official accompanist are required then two copies of the Own Choice piece must be provided.

Performers may bring their own accompanist, who may be a teacher or group leader, if they wish.

Applicants should indicate on entry forms if the services of an official accompanist are required. In the case of certain open, adult or advanced classes, rehearsal time with the Official Accompanist may be arranged through the Festival Administrator. NB There is no official accompanist at Gaelic classes.

Compact Disc Recordings may only be used in classes CH01 to CH28 (Choirs) and V108 & V109 (Popular Music) performances. A copy of the recording must be sent to the festival office before the closing date for own choice pieces, clearly stating day, time, syllabus class and name of performer. A back-up copy must be taken to the venue on the performance day.

A5 – Provisional Timetable

Details of date, time and place of Competitive Classes will be sent to Applicants only, as soon as possible after the closing date for entries. Programmed times will be approximate and performers are requested to be ready to perform before the time stated (at least 10 minutes for Soloists and Duettists and at least 20 minutes for larger groups). The right is reserved to change the details before the official programme is published, if circumstances necessitate this.

All details should be checked in the official programme.

A6 – Adjudication Marks and Sheets

In order to achieve consistency of marking throughout the festival movement, the British and International Federation of Festivals for Music, Dance and Speech has the following standard which will be applied with regard to the awarding of marks:

75 – 77 Fair
78 – 80 Moderate
81 – 83 Merit
84 – 86 Commended
87 – 89 Distinction
90+ Outstanding

Descriptors explaining these standards will appear on Federation Adjudication Sheets along with the Adjudicator’s comments and are intended to help performers understand what they have achieved and how they can progress.

During the adjudication of a Class only the first three places are usually announced.

Adjudication sheets must be collected by the performer or applicant after the close of each class. No responsibility will be accepted for the safe keeping of Sheets.

Performers’ official photocopies or music books, submitted as their own choice must be collected at the end of the class as no responsibility will be accepted for their safekeeping.

A7 – Certificates & Trophies

The standard used by the British and International Federation of Festivals for Music, Dance and Speech will be applied to the awarding of certificates and trophies.

Certificates must be collected by the performer or applicant after the close of each class. No responsibility will be accepted for the safe keeping of certificates.

Trophies may be withheld at the discretion of the Adjudicator. Persons awarded trophies are expected to arrange for and meet the cost of engraving by the authorised Festival engraver and sign a letter of undertaking for the safe-keeping of the trophy and its return. Trophies must be returned as instructed not later than four weeks before the start of the Festival.


B1 – Photocopying

It is illegal to photocopy (or copy by any other means) works which are copyright, without the permission of the copyright holder. The Association and/or the Adjudicator may refuse photocopied items where the performer cannot produce permission to copy. Performers contravening this regulation may be disqualified. If an Own Choice work is selected from a publication containing several different works and which is not published separately, one copy may be made for the use of the Adjudicator provided that the performer has already purchased their own copy. These copies will be destroyed by the Administrator immediately after the event. This permission specifically does not apply to set works. It should be noted that this permission applies only to copyright holders who are members of the Music Publishers Association (listed on the back of the MPA Code of Practice). Performers will need to obtain permission to copy direct from any copyright holder whose name does not appear on the MPA list.

B2 – Performing Rights & Copyright

The Festival is affiliated to the British and International Federation of Festivals for Music, Dance and Speech and participates in its Group Licence to cover payment of fees for the use of recorded music at its events. Performers or groups using tapes or CDs created from commercial recordings are advised that they should themselves seek permission to re-record from the companies concerned, as the Festival does not take responsibility for this. The Association and/or the Adjudicator may refuse recorded music where the performer cannot produce permission for use. Performers contravening this regulation may be disqualified. The attention of performers and group leaders is drawn to the booklet ‘Copying Music – A Code of Fair Practice’ which is obtainable free on application to The Music Publishers Association Ltd, 103 Kingsway, London WC28 6QX.

Songs from Stage & Screen. – Copyright laws state that songs from shows in current production may only be sung as a concert item, i.e. without costume or movement, without the need for copyright permission. All performers using music from shows in current production are subject to copyright law and where movement or costume is included in a performance copyright permission is needed. The Festival accepts such entries on the basis that the appropriate permission has been granted. Performers or teachers with queries regarding copyright should contact Festivals House on 01625 428297/611578.

B3 – Speech & Drama Copyright

The Committee has entered into an agreement with the Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society whereby performers do not have to seek copyright permission for any poetry, prose or solo dramatic items performed, to a time limit of ten minutes. Performers and teachers are assured that their participation in the Festival means that authors will be directly reimbursed as a consequence of their work being performed at the Festival. Solo dramatic items must be performed in their entirety and announced with their title and author at the time of performance to qualify for copyright indemnity and the performer must not change the words or gender of the character. Duologues and group dramatic activities are not covered by this agreement and copyright of these items should be sought at the time of entry and proof of permission to perform may be called for at the time of competition.

B4 – Recording Devices & Cameras

As this is a competitive festival at which the performers are being judged, the use of video recorders, tape recorders, any other recording device and cameras is not permitted during the competitions. Sound recording is illegal under copyright law. Anyone ignoring this rule will have their recordings erased.

The Inverness Festival Association may commission photographs of entrants for the purposes of advertising the Festival. Entrants have the opportunity when completing the Entry Form to indicate whether or not they are willing to assist the Festival in this way.

B5 – Data Protection Act

The Inverness Festival Association will only use personal data in connection with the organisation of Inverness Festival Association events. It does not make personal data available to any other organisation or individual. A copy of the data protection policy is available on request.

B6 – Equal Opportunities

The Inverness Festival Association is a voluntary organisation which exists to provide opportunities for people to develop their artistic potential and to display their talents to a wider audience, thus increasing the level of community participation in the arts. The Association carries out its work without distinction of politics, religion or other opinions.

?The association is committed to a policy of equal opportunity which respects the identity, rights and values of each individual. Recognising that discrimination exists, the Association is positively committed to opposing all direct and indirect discrimination against people on the grounds of ethnic origin, religion, culture, disability, gender, sexual identity, family status or age.

The Association declares its intention to promote equal opportunity in employment practices, access to any offices or facilities it develops, service provision, committee membership, meetings, volunteer recruitment and selection & training.

The Association will review the progress of its policy in preparation for each Annual General Meeting.

B7 – Safeguarding Policy

The Inverness Festival Association has a stated policy, a copy of which is included in the syllabus. The policy is sent to all applicants as part of the Provisional Timetable and is also available on request.