Festival Information

What is the NCBF Festival?

The National Concert Band Festival celebrates and promotes the music and activities of wind bands and jazz bands by holding regional festivals across the UK and a National Festival. The organisation aims to provide unique performing opportunities in a friendly, welcoming and musically enriching environment.

Bands enter into their local regional festival where they perform in front of their peers, parents, audience, and NCBF adjudicators who offer feedback based on the NCBF Award Criteria. Bands are not competing against each other but are critiqued against the various aspects of performance and are awarded a certificate signifying their success: Platinum, Gold Silver or Bronze.  

Bands fall into a variety of tailored Band Classes that enable them to perform amongst similar band types. The bands who perform at the higher standards are then invited to the annual NCBF National Festival. The National Festival is hosted at such venues as: Royal Northern College of Music, Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and The Sage Gateshead. Here, bands perform again, building on their earlier experiences and take the opportunity to aim for the highest standards achievable.

Bands who enter are required to select at least one piece from the NCBF Repertoire Lists, produced to ensure that the rich variety of wind and jazz band published repertoire is promoted and actively explored.  Wind bands are additionally required to include a piece by a British composer, which may also be the selected piece from the repertoire list. As ambassadors of Wind Band and Jazz Band music, NCBF are proud to encourage and support music at all ages and abilities but also help nurture the banding community across the world. 

How to Enter?

Band Directors! Create your online account and enter your bands into your nearest regional festival. The entry fee per band is payable by invoice. Payments are also accepted through PayPal.

Please have your ‘Invoice Address’ to hand if this is different from your correspondence address.

Once you have submitted your bands, our NCBF team process your application and send an invoice once all the details have been confirmed. You can view your applications in the invoice dashboard once they have been created.

Entries to Regional Festivals

  • NCBF are keen to encourage all bands to enter their own area regional festival as far as possible - however we recognise that there may be good reasons why that is not always possible, in these circumstances you should apply to Keith Allen, Festival Director NCBF, in the first instance outlining your reasons.
  • Entries must be submitted using the electronic forms on this website. The non-refundable fee (payable to National Concert Band Festival) is due arrive at the NCBF Festival Office no later than the closing date for each region as indicated on the Regional Festivals page.
  • Please ensure your band name and Festival invoice reference number is included.
  • If entries exceed the number of bands that can be accommodated at the Festival, acceptance will be at the discretion of the Regional Organiser. Late entries may be accepted at the discretion of the NCBF Festival Office and a late entry fee of £85 may be levied.
Check your Band Class
NCBF Festival Bass Clarinet
NCBF National Concert Band Festival Awards

Adjudication and Awards

  • It must be stressed that the purpose of adjudication is to measure the band’s attempt to achieve a particular level of performance, and not to make comparisons between two different bands’ performance. There will normally be two adjudicators in all classes, one giving a written adjudication, the other providing comments on a recording of each performance.
  • Bands are expected to supply adjudicators’ scores to the Regional Organiser. Two copies of the score are required for the Wind Band classes and two copies or suitable lead sheet for the Big Band classes.
  • It is the band’s responsibility to provide all the adjudicator’s scores. Participating bands are warned that it is illegal to photocopy (or to copy by other means) musical scores and band parts which are copyright. The Regional Organiser reserves the right to inspect any music used in the Festival and may disqualify bands using unauthorised photocopies.
  • Bands in all classes may receive a Platinum, Gold, Silver or Bronze Award as recommended by the adjudicators. The adjudicators decision is final.
  • Music and adjudications can be collected from the Regional Organiser at the end of the Festival
Read the Award Criteria

Invitations to the National Festival

As NCBF no longer enjoys on-going sponsorship support regrettably we now have to levy an entry fee on participation in the National Festival. This is set at the same level as the Regional Festivals for this season - non-refundable, (an invoice is available to download during the entry process) to those bands accepting an invitation to perform.