Festival Rules

The following rules apply only to the KBB Music Festival, not the KBBMF Fringe Festival. Groups that do not adhere to the rules listed here are welcome to participate in the KBB Music Festival as non-competitive ensembles, but they will not be considered for awards (though they will receive written comments from the adjudicators). Please indicate your intention regarding this in the appropriate space on the entry form. Directors of such groups may also wish to consider entering the KBBMF Fringe Festival instead, which does not have a strict set of rules.


1. Players are eligible to perform in the festival if they are full-time students of the participating school/s and are under 19 years of age, or whose 19th birthday occurs during the year of the festival.

2. The festival is open to all secondary school ensembles within the greater Auckland region. Schools from outside this area are welcome to enter if space is available, though they will not be eligible for a place in the Gala Concerts.

3. Two schools may join to form an ensemble, provided they stipulate this on the entry form. Only one entry form needs to be submitted. Ensembles may not consist of students from more than two schools. If an ensemble contains one or more students from a second school, this must be indicated on the entry form.


4. There are four categories, as follows:

  • Symphony Orchestra: 25 players minimum. Groups may substitute no more than one instrument per work with a keyboard.
  • Chamber Orchestra: 12-27 players. Groups may substitute no more than one instrument per work with a keyboard.
  • Concert Band: 15 players minimum. Groups may substitute no more than one instrument per work with a keyboard. No strings unless (a) bass guitar and / or double bass; (b) solo instrument (eg. solo viola in Schindler’s List).
  • Jazz/Big Band: 12 players minimum. A jazz/big band must include saxophone/s, trumpet/s, trombone/s and a rhythm section.

If groups wish to be involved in the festival but do not meet the eligibility or player/instrumentation rules, they may enter the festival at a non-competitive level.


5. Ensembles must provide two adjudication scores for all pieces on their programme. These should each be labelled with the school, ensemble name, and order in performance programme. Copies of scores must be presented on the day of the event by a representative of the participating group, prior to their performance. These are to be handed in at the Festival Administration table upon arrival; these will then be collected by a staff member who will pass them on to the adjudicators. Please avoid interacting with the adjudicators. Scores should be collected from the Festival Administration table after the performance. Note that individual schools are responsible for adhering to the relevant copyright laws – the festival accepts no responsibility for any copyright infringements.


6. All groups must be on and off stage within the 30-minute time limit. Each group is responsible for providing their own stage helper/s who will assist festival staff to set up the stage as required for that group. This must be done within the 30-minute time limit. You must bring a stage plan with you and submit it (with your scores) at the Festival Administration table upon arrival. To help groups keep within their time limit, it is recommended that musical directors organise tuning backstage, with only a quick cursory tuning onstage. It is recommended that you bring a few electronic tuners to assist in this regard. Groups that go over time will be deducted 2 points for every minute or part thereof that the time limit is exceeded.

Instrument Provision

7. The following instruments will be provided for each group:

  • Symphony Orchestras & Concert Bands (held in the Holy Trinity Cathedral): 4x pedal timpani, grand piano, drum kit, vibraphone, xylophone, glockenspiel, orchestral bass drum, tam tam (gong), tubular bells, a small percussion table, one microphone and PA system, bass amplifier, keyboard amplifier, 60x music stands, 90x chairs.
  • Jazz Bands (held in St Mary’s Church): Upright piano, 1x fixed piano mic, 2x cordless mics and a PA system, bass amplifier, keyboard amplifier, guitar amplifier, drum kit, 2x congas, 25x music stands, 27x chairs.
  • Chamber Orchestras (held in St Mary’s Church): Upright piano, keyboard amplifier, 15x music stands, 27x chairs.

Performance Attendance

8. It is important to note that groups competing in a particular session during the heats must be present as audience members in their performance venue for the entire session. The only exceptions to this are groups that are in the warm-up room immediately prior to their performance. Other than this, groups that fail to participate as audience members during the heats will be disqualified.

Note that schools will not be able to schedule different category groups in the same session. For example, a school with a Jazz Band and a Concert Band will need to have each group perform in a different session. This enables students and directors to remain in the same performance venue for their entire session. Directors should ensure that all their students remain in the performance venue for the entire session in order to avoid disqualification.

Fringe Festival sessions will be run in shorter blocks of time than the main adjudicated sessions; Fringe participants must be present as audience members for the duration these smaller sessions.

New Zealand Music Award

9. Ensembles may choose to perform a NZ work during this festival, which will be adjudicated for the ‘Best Performance of a New Zealand Work’ award. For this festival, a piece submitted as a New Zealand work must be an original composition (not an arrangement of a non-NZ piece) by a New Zealand composer. The title and composer of the piece must be stated in the correct place on the entry form. The adjudicators may choose to make an award in each category, or may decide not to if they feel an acceptable standard has not been attained.

9a. All Jazz Bands entered in the competitive section of the festival will be eligible to receive the ‘Tour Time Jazz Improvisation Award’. This award will be made to the group whose soloists collectively display the highest overall standard of Jazz improvisation.


10. Pieces that feature soloists are acceptable, but should be part of a balanced programme. Conductors are encouraged to predominantly select repertoire that showcases the whole ensemble. A reminder that piano concertos require significant staging changes which must be factored into the performance time allocation.


11. MC introductions for ensembles will be made by festival staff, unless a director specifically requests to present their own announcements.

Closing Date

12. The closing date for entries will be announced to schools via email when registration opens. The closing date will also be available on the registration page of the festival website. Due to scheduling difficulties and the very tight time frame of this festival, entries received after this date will not be accepted. Entries must be completed on the Festival Website. Handwritten and/or posted entries will not be accepted.


13. Two adjudicators will be provided in each of the four festival categories.

All groups competing in the heats will receive written comments from the adjudicators, who will assess ensembles on:

  • Technique (20%)
  • Accuracy (20%)
  • Musicianship (30%)
  • Ensemble (20%)
  • Presentation (10%)

Groups which adhere to the rules will be graded by points received in the above areas. These groups will be eligible for Gold, Silver and Bronze awards in each section, as follows:

  • Gold award: 85-100%
  • Silver award: 75-84%
  • Bronze award: 60-74%

Adjudicators may, at their discretion, choose to make “Commended” awards to groups of significant merit whose total points do not qualify them for either Gold, Silver or Bronze awards.

All groups will receive either a Certificate of Participation or an award for their involvement in the festival.

The adjudicators may award more than one award in each category, or decide not to make an award in every category. Only groups that adhere to the rules will receive awards and graded points.

Awards are not moderated across categories. Awards given in each category are an expression of the judgement of the adjudicators in those categories only. Each panel of Festival adjudicators allocates marks according to their professional judgement using the festival Mark Schedule. A copy of this mark schedule is available below:


Awards will be presented at the conclusion of each Gala Concert, so please have a representative of your group ready to accept any awards. The adjudicators will also make an award for the Best Performance of a New Zealand work, which may be awarded in all categories. The Tour Time Jazz Improvisation Award will be awarded to a Jazz Band (see rule number 9a). The Best Performance of a New Zealand Work, Peter Goddard Memorial Award and Chairman’s Command Performance Award will also be presented at the Gala Concerts.

The adjudicators’ decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.

Gala Concerts

14. At least 3-4 of the best groups from each category will be selected by the adjudicators for the Gala Concerts, and each group will have a maximum 10-minute performance time.

For each of the two Gala Concerts, the adjudicators, in conjunction with the ASSMFT Chairman, will also select one additional group to deliver the Chairman’s Command Performance. This group will be from a school not otherwise performing at the Gala and will be invited to perform one work from their festival program specifically requested by the Chairman.

Groups chosen will be notified as soon as possible after the heats have finished.