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Affiliated to the British & International Federation of Festivals for Music, Dance and Speech

Important Dates


1 March 2022 - Closing date for entries to the Wharfedale Festival of Performing Arts Speech, Drama and Music Festival 2022.

17th- 20th May 2022 - 2022 Wharfedale Festival of Performing Arts Speech, Drama and Music Festival.

To celebrate the 70th festival in 1976 Robert Lantaff prepared a short history up to that date. A number of interesting events and developments have occurred since then which are well worth reporting and have therefore been included in this update (1996). Since the historical background obviously remains the same, I have merely included the original text with suitable amendments and additions.

In this series of articles, "I" refers to Robert Lantaff and the original copyright remains with him. These articles are repeated for anyone interested in the history of the Wharfedale Festival.



At one of the sessions of the Federation's 1987 Conference, much discussion took place on the subject of establishing a more relevant and useful system of grading performances. For the best part of a century, performances had always been given a mark based on a percentage scale, but many adjudicators and festival organisers felt this to be inadequate, and on occasions inconsistent, between two or more adjudicators working at the same festival.

Adjudicator Christopher Wiltshire presented a paper outlining suggestions for a revised system using categories bearing titles not normally associated with school or examination work. This festival was one of many which adopted the proposals with effect from 1988. The 1989 programme includes the paragraph:

This festival has now adopted a system of categories instead of marks, in line with many other affiliated to the British Federation of Festivals throughout the country. Since the purpose of the festival movement is education, it is believed that this will make the best use of the adjudicator's valuable time in providing helpful, constructive criticism and encouragement, both verbally and on the evaluation sheet received by each competitor.

Over the next few years the definitions were refined in order to reflect the experience gamed, and these stand as follows:


O OUTSTANDING In terms of technique and artistic interpretation
V VERY GOOD A very good performance in terms of technical preparation & artistic merit.
G GOOD A good performance, well prepared and showing artistic merit.
M MODERATE Showing a fair standard of general preparation.
I INSECURE An insecure performance.

Robert Lantaff (C) 1976 & 1996

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General Secretary
Mrs Patricia Dibb
01943 865180


Speech & Drama Secretaries
Mrs Julie James
01943 433444

Mrs Elizabeth Whiteley
01943 830780

Piano Festival Secretary

Piano Festival Secretary


Piano Festival