Welcome to the Wantage Music Festival 2021

2021 promises to be another extraordinary year. Following the cancellation of the festival last year, the committee has been working hard to provide a Covid-safe in-person experience for 2021.

Those who have been to the festival before will see many changes. Challow Park, our home for many years, is unable to provide a suitable venue but we are delighted to say that Wantage Methodist Church have kindly agreed to let us use their facilities, Covid regulations permitting, on two successive Saturdays in June. Graham Blyth has kindly agreed to loan us the use of his Shigeru Kawai grand piano.

Having to make plans with no knowledge of what the circumstances will be in June, we have been conservative. Some of our classes will not be able to run at all because of the need to follow social distancing measures, and class sizes will be limited because of the limited number of people allowed in the hall. For the same reason, we will be limiting the number of people supporting each entrant to two – although we have waived the fee for supporters this year.

The festival will run for just two days in order to make the most of the adjudicators’ time – but we may have to turn down some entries so please get yours in early! And as I write this, group entries (duos, trios, etc.) must be drawn from a single household or bubble, but of course the rules may have changed by the time of the festival.

I must stress that while we will do everything we can to run the festival as advertised, we cannot make any guarantees. Any adjustments we make will be guided by our wish to make the festival the best it can be, and if we do have to cancel parts of the festival or turn down your performance for any reason we will of course refund your entry fees. We will adjust the rules and disseminate an update nearer the date of the festival – probably with entry acknowledgements and certainly on our web site. I hope you will understand that in matters of the festival organisation the committee will have the final say.

Despite all of this, I do hope you enjoy taking part in this long-running Festival, now in its 43rd year. The Federation of Music Festivals aims to cultivate the joy of music-making, and Wantage Music Festival provides a friendly and supportive platform for musicians of all ages to share in the excitement and joy of making music. While there is a competitive element to most of the classes, our prime objective is to encourage performers to learn from one another as well as from expert adjudication.

Thanks to the generosity of local individuals and organisations, there are six prizes and cups to be won and information about these can be found on the next page.

Thank you for continuing to support Wantage Music Festival. Please enjoy the experience and spread the word.

Helen Carter, WMF Chair