Welcome to the Abingdon Music Festival!

“A festival with a difference – not a competition but a workshop”


The 2023 Festival attracted over 250 entries, predominantly pianists, but with a pleasing increase in entries in the string classes.

The adjudicators worked very hard, and their helpfully constructive comments on each performance were greatly appreciated by all participants.

The Festival concert featured an enjoyable variety of performances selected from across the gamut of classes, and was enhanced by an opening contribution by the Didcot Girls’ School Choir, numbering almost 100, and Anna Lockett’s delightful Harp ensemble.

We look forward to the 2024 Festival dates: 11-13 October.

Adjudicators will be William Howard and Sally Cathcart (Piano), Martin Outram (Strings), Paul Harris (Woodwind) and Elizabeth Emberson (Vocal).

Closing date for entries: 20 September


The 2023 CONCERTO Competition was held on Sunday 30 April, in the Silk Hall, Radley College (by kind permission). It attracted 14 competitors on a pleasing variety of instruments, from whom Edward Harris-Brown emerged as the winner with a highly impressive performance of Bartok’s ultra-virtuosic 1st Piano Concerto. Edward will give his prize performance with the Abingdon & District Music Society Orchestra on Saturday 09 March 2024, performing Ravel’s G major Concerto.


The Committee reviewed the timing of the Festival, in the light of comments received from participants, parents and particularly teachers. Consequently the Festival has been re-scheduled from its traditional early-spring-bank-holiday-weekend timing, which over the years has proved increasingly difficult for those with public examinations, to a weekend in October – early November, offering an opportunity for those taking ABRSM examinations later in the term or preparing for Music GCSE or A-level to have their performances helpfully reviewed by someone other than their teacher.




We regularly receive comments that this is a really friendly and informative festival; to those of you who may be new to it, its “difference” means that after every performance, in whatever category, an adjudicator of the highest calibre will give instant comments and helpful advice. Audiences appreciate hearing these assessments immediately instead of having to wait until the end of the class, and performers really enjoy the chance to work on their pieces with an experienced adjudicator. The only element of competition is that each adjudicator is invited to select items for the final Sunday evening concert.


We could not run the Festival without our Friends, who pay a small annual donation to support the administration and assist as stewards and receptionists during the Festival weekend. Would you join them as a  Friend of the Festival? All details here: AMF-Friends-1911



Recognising the talents of its participants, the Festival is pleased to draw attention to the opportunities for high-quality chamber-orchestra playing offered by the Oxford Concerto Orchestra; please see tab above.

The Festival is a member of the British and International Federation of Festivals for Music, Drama and Speech.