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Festival Rules


Calendar & Schedule             Repertoire Constraints                     Provincials

Registration                            Etiquette & Class Conduct               Finale Concert

Financial Aid                           Class Results & Awards                  Pandemic Protocol


General Rules:

  1. This festival will be known as the Kitchener-Waterloo Kiwanis Music Festival and KWKMF for short. 

  2. The KWKMF is hosted by the Kiwanis Club of Kitchener-Waterloo, Inc.

  3. By registering for the KWKMF, you agree to be bound by the festival rules.

  4. The official mode of communication about festival matters and announcements is through the festival website, which is

  5. By registering for the KWKMF, you consent to the publishing of the participant’s photo taken by official festival media persons on the KWKMF's online and printed media outlets. 

  6. This KWKMF is open to amateurs only. For the purposes of the KWKMF, an amateur is a person whose primary income stream is in something other than the festival activity they are entering for.

  7. The KWKMF’s competitive classes are available for persons 28 years of age and lower only. 

  8. The KWKMF’s non-competitive workshop classes are available to persons of all ages.

  9. Participants may be disqualification from all present and future festival activities and honours in situations where festival rules explicitly disregarded.


  10. Online registration takes place from December 1 to January 22.

  11. Late registration takes place from January 23 to January 31 and is subject to a $10 late fee. 

  12. Registrations are not accepted after January 31.

  13. The schedule will be published online on March 1st.

  14. A typical festival is scheduled for the last two weeks of April, sometimes overlapping into early May. 

  15. Tentative festival dates are published on the website prior to the schedule reveal.

  16. It is recommended that during the time period between registration and the schedule reveal, that families reserve all festival dates in their schedules.

  17. It is recommended that families continue to reserve all festival dates after the schedule reveal, in case there is a major schedule change.

  18. The festival policy with respect to being double-booked is as follows: participants who are registering for multiple divisions can be guaranteed to not be double-booked with themselves; the festival cannot guarantee that siblings will not be double-booked with their other siblings.

  19. The festival schedule will not be modified in response to requests made based on personal schedule conflicts. A personal schedule conflict would include travel, school, other competitions, other extra-curricular activities, and the like. 

  20. The KWKMF reserves the right to change the published schedule at any time. 

  21. It is the responsibility of each festival participant, music teacher and accompanist to ensure that their understanding of the schedule is consistent with the currently published schedule, which is subject to change.


  22. The KWKMF reserves the right to refuse any registration for any reason.

  23. Participants must enter classes at a higher level than that of their most recently completed practical exam, except when their most recently completed exam was taken in the year of the festival. 

  24. A participant may only register once per competitive class. If you mistakenly register for the same competitive class more than once, you will be contacted by the coordinator.

  25. You will be asked to identify the participant’s age during registration. For the purposes of the KWKMF, a participant's age is determined by their age on December 31st of the year prior to the year of the current festival. 

  26. In addition to the class fees, registrants will be charged a flat $5 registration fee. This will appear as a ‘shipping fee’ on their receipt.

  27. Families who are registering multiple participants can register multiple participants in a single registration transaction, thereby paying only one $5 fee. 

  28. Refunds will not be awarded if the participant chooses to refrain from participating in a festival class for which they have registered, except when a doctor’s note is provided or in cases of bereavement.

  29. You will receive an automatic email confirming your registration details once registration is complete. If you do not receive this email, please contact the coordinator, as it is possible that your email address was entered incorrectly. 

  30. It is recommended that you forward your registration confirmation to your music teacher in order for them to verify that you registered for the correct classes, as corrections can be made prior to the publication of the schedule.


  1. Students who are studying with music teachers in the Bridge to Music KWS program receive a 99% registration discount. Please contact the coordinator for the coupon code in advance to registration.

  2. Participants who are unable to register for the music festival due to financial considerations are welcome to write a letter to the festival committee explaining their situation and why they want to participate in the music festival, as well as which classes. These letters must be received by December 10th of the year prior to the music festival. Letters may be submitted via email as a PDF.


  1. In classes that have a level associated with them, participants must select a piece from a current or past syllabus publication that corresponds with that level. 

  2. In situations where the RCM approves a piece to be played in an exam, a participant can play that piece in a class of the corresponding level and list in that year of the music festival. For this to be valid, the participant must include confirmation of the RCM's approval when they submit their score during the festival class. 

  3. Participants may perform the same selection only once per festival.

  4. Unless otherwise specified, participants may play only one syllabus selection per class.

  5. Participants must not play selections or groups of selections longer than twenty minutes in total.

  6. If the RCM or CC syllabus requires multiple movements for a selection, the same number of movements must be played in the festival class. This especially applies for etude classes. However, for diploma and post-diploma sonata classes (piano list B), two contrasting movements may be played only.

  7. If your class requires you to play multiple selections, play them back to back with a brief pause.

  8. If memory is required for the music exam, the piece must be performed from memory in the festival. Therefore, memorization is not required for most etude and popular classes.

  9. If live accompaniment is required for the music exam, the piece must be performed with live accompaniment in the festival. This rule is waived for virtual festivals.

  10. It is recommended that repeats not be observed unless they significantly influence the structure of the piece (for example: minute and trio movements).

  11. For vocal classes, selections must be sung in their original language. Vocal selections may be transposed to suit the participant's vocal range. 

  12. In piano etude classes, the participant must perform the same number of etudes that they would perform for a practical examination. 

  13. In piano popular classes, the selection should be chosen from the RCM Popular Syllabus or the CC Contemporary Idioms Syllabus. 

  14. Participants who have completed the Diploma level practical exam must enter Open classes. Participants who do not perform repertoire according to class requirements will not be disqualified. Instead, they will only receive comments, a mark and a participant ribbon and will not be eligible to place first, second or third amongst that class’s participants.



  1. Participants may not play a festival piano outside of their designated festival performance time. 

  2. Making contact with an adjudicator to discuss festival related matters at any point during the festival year is not permitted. Adjudicators are required to report such correspondence to the festival committee.


  3. It is recommended that participants wear attire appropriate for performing.

  4. Participants should announce their name, the title of their selection, and the name of the composer before performing.

  5. Participants must supply a published or public domain score at their festival class in accordance with the Canadian Copyright Act. 

  6. Participants who do not provide a score for the adjudicator will not be eligible for placement ribbons; a participant ribbon will be awarded to that competitor instead. 

  7. In duet and ensemble classes, photocopied scores for the performers or adjudicators are not permitted unless the score is in the public domain or unless the copying follows the legalities for such things.

  8. It is highly recommended that a sticky be placed on the first page of the piece being performed with the participants name written on the sticky.

  9. Photography, recording and cellphone usage is prohibited in all festival performance spaces during classes.


  10. Participants in competitive classes will be awarded ribbons where the highest mark receives a first-place ribbon, the second highest mark receives a second-place ribbon, the third highest mark receives a third-place ribbon, and all other participants receive a participant ribbon. 

  11. Participants may tie for second and third place. Ties for first place are rare and extraordinary.

  12. A mark of 80 or higher must be achieved in order to receive a first-place ribbon.

  13. A mark of 90 represents exceptional playing both technically and artistically.

  14. The class results will be announced as follows: third place, second place, and finally first place. Marks will not be announced.

  15. Non-competitive classes will receive no mark for their performance and will receive a participant ribbon along with the adjudicator’s comments.

  16. All decisions made by a festival adjudicator or concert organizer with respect to class outcome, awards, provincial delegation, and concert performer nominations are irrevocable. 

  17. By registering for the festival, you agree to accept all of the festival results as final, even if you disagree with them.


  18. Thanks to generous donations made by the Kiwanis Club of Kitchener-Waterloo, several long-time major donors, and many donations by individuals each year, the festival administers the distribution of financial awards between $8000 and $20000 to deserving festival participants based on adjudicator decision. 

  19. At the beginning of each festival, the adjudicators are made aware of the awards available for awarding within their particular division, an amount of award money that reflects that division’s enrolment.

  20. In a live festival, award packages are collected on stage at the end of the finale concert so that recipients can participate in the award-recipient group photo. In virtual festivals, they are mailed to the participants.

  21. Award package contain a cheque with the participants name on it and a letter indicating the award donor. 

  22. Award recipients are encouraged to write a thank you letter to the donor of their award. 

  23. Recipients of the Allan Bush top awards ($500 each) are required to participate in the finale concert.

  24. Award recipients who do not pick up their award will have it mailed to them. 

  25. Expired award cheques are not reissued.



  27. Trophies are awarded at the discretion of the adjudicators.

  28. Recipients have their name and year inscribed on the trophy base. 

  29. Individuals who win trophies are required to attend the finale concert in order to receive their trophy on stage.

  30. Recipients keep the trophy until the following festival and return the trophy to the festival office during the following year’s festival.

  31. A keeper plaque or trophy is included with each annual trophy.


  32. The Kitchener-Waterloo Kiwanis Music Festival is a feeder festival for the Ontario Music Festival Association Provincial Competition. 

  33. At the end of each festival, adjudicators nominate two delegates as well as two ordered runner-ups in each level that is level six or higher. 

  34. Active delegates are notified via email by the festival coordinator. 

  35. When an original active delegate declines their delegation, the first runner up is invited to attend in their place, and so on. 

  36. Provincial Delegates are honoured in the finale concert during the Provincial Delegate Medal Ceremony.

  37. Those who do not attend the ceremony may pick up their medal at a pickup location.

  38. Provincial delegates will be invited to perform one selection from their provincial program at the Provincial Delegate Showcase Concert, to be held at the Kitchener-Waterloo Chamber Music Society.


  39. The finale concert program aims to celebrate the achievement of all festival participants by featuring excellent performances that represent as many divisions, levels, genres and styles as possible. 

  40. Adjudicators nominate performances from their division and then a committee selects the finale concert program from the collective list of adjudicator-nominated performers. 

  41. Performers are invited to performing the finale concert by email. 

  42. Performers requiring piano accompaniment are welcome to hire their own accompanist or use the festival-hired accompanist for which there will be one rehearsal earlier in the day on the day of the finale concert.

  43. In addition to the performances, the finale concert celebrates the trophy winners, the provincial delegates, the concerto competition winners, and the award winners. 

  44. The finale concert typically occurs at 7:00 PM on the Friday evening after the last formal festival day at Knox Waterloo (this is subject to change, given the pandemic).

  45. Videos of some past finale concerts are archived on the festival YouTube channel.


  46. All festival events will follow government protocol, guidelines and recommendations. 

  47. Any person entering a festival venue must be familiar with the specifics of how the festival is implementing current government recommendation as outlined on the festival website and be prepared to abide by them.

  48. This festival will follow the pandemic festival procedures as outlined by the CMFAA.

  49. The festival cannot take responsibility for any person contracting COVID-19 at a festival event. Persons enter festival venues at their own risk.

  50. Should the festival be cancelled at the last minute due to the pandemic, participants will be given the option to receive a full refund or submit a video to the same class in the virtual festival.


  51. Only persons who are living in the Region of Waterloo will be eligible to receive awards and nominations.

  52. Participants must submit their repertoire selections at the prescribed date.

  53. Participants will be mailed their comment sheets and Kiwanis Placement Ribbons.

Calendar & Schedue
Financial Aid
Repertoire Constraints
Festival Etiquette & Class Conduct
Class Results & Awards
Finale Concert
Pandemic Protocol
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