Committee's Report on Your Feedback
Our first question was about the Mid Herts Centre for Music and Arts which we used for the first time in 2014. Everyone who gave feedback was enthusiastic about the new venue. You liked the ease of parking and the good availability of practice rooms with pianos. We like this, too, as it enables the Festival to accommodate as many entrants as possible in a single weekend which is important both for the availability of volunteer stewards and for keeping costs as low as possible.
Turning to what went well and where we can do better, most of you found the festival easy to enter, well organised and the volunteer stewards helpful and friendly – informal atmosphere on entry but professional in the concert room, as one respondent put it.
There were only two comments about adjudicators this year, one positive, one negative, both about the same individual.
One respondent noted that a small number of gifted children “walked away with everything” which has made others, less gifted but making good progress, feel inadequate. This is not what we want to happen. In 2016 there will be some classes organised by grade as well as by age.
Unfortunately some people dropped out on the day, which led to some confusion about what piece was being played, and “mutterings in the audience”. We will remind stewards to make appropriate announcements in future.
We referred above to the benefits of running the Festival over one weekend, which overall outweighs the disadvantage which this brings of needing to run parallel classes. However, there was a complaint about the timing, not surprisingly from a participant in more than one event. We do our best to schedule to avoid clashes for those entering two or more classes and plan to do even more about the factors we can control. We intend to be more strict with performers exceeding the time limit, and are considering guidelines for adjudicators to keep their feedback concise.
However, adjudicators' feedback is the main reason why people come in the first place, and indeed one respondent asked for even more time to be allowed. We have to strike a balance between allowing more performance and adjudication time and keeping the costs at a level where as many as possible can afford to come.
There are some issues which the committee considers every two or three years. These include certificates, suggested last year, for everyone who achieved a pass standard, which could be more encouraging particularly for younger children, and more prizes. This year a mixed instrument category such as a violin/guitar duo was suggested.
Most people prefer to give feedback anonymously, which is absolutely fine, but if you do choose to give your name it will not go beyond the committee. We would have liked to contact the person who offered to join or assist the committee, but we do not know who you are!
Whether anonymous or not, we really appreciate your feedback and take all comments very seriously, even if we have not referred to them in this summary.
Thank you all for your comments!