The Festival is open to all school bands from across the planet. We have events for concert bands/wind bands, brass bands and big bands of all ability levels – from those just starting out to the most accomplished ensembles.
While most of our bands come from the Sydney metropolitan area we also have bands from regional NSW, as well as interstate and international visitors.
If your band is joining us from out of Sydney we are more than happy to ensure your trip is a great success by assisting in providing access to workshops, performance opportunities and general tourist advice.
No, the Festival is not competitive. Our primary aim is to provide an educational and inspirational event allowing the students to showcase their musical talents.
Music Directors are free to choose the event level they believe will suit their ensemble, based on the difficulty of music they are currently playing.
All bands will receive an audio adjudication and a GOLD, SILVER or BRONZE award for the category in which they are performing.
There are no set works or test pieces required at the NSW School Band Festival. All bands are required to present a varied program which should include a slow melody, chorale or hymn. For more advanced bands this might be a slow movement of a multi-movement piece.
Since 2015 it has been mandatory for every band participating in the NSW School Band Festival to perform an Australian music item in all Festival event levels. The rationale behind this is to promote a home grown Australian music culture and to support the many Australian artists who are currently composing and arranging for the wind band and big band mediums. All bands must include a piece that has been:
- Composed by an Australian or a resident whose work has largely been completed in Australia OR
- Arranged by an Australian or a resident whose work has largely been completed in Australia.
Please note: this does not include works which have only had parts re-scored for alternative instrumentation.
We have an EARLY BIRD entry rate and a GENERAL ENTRY rate.
Since 2016 the SBF has implemented a sliding scale of band entry fees for the EARLYBIRD RATE, calculated on the proportion of time a band has to perform (i.e. the longer the performance time, the higher the entry fee). All General Entry rates are the same.
For a full list fees and cut-off dates click the link below.
Please note: the SBF is a not-for-profit event. All revenue raised from band entry fees and audience admission fees goes to the running of the Festival and the various programs we conduct throughout the year.
Music Directors are free to choose the event level they believe most suits their ensemble. The SBF is aware that school ensembles may vary in their ability level from year to year and MDs are free to alter the event level they enter to reflect these changes.
As the SBF is a non-competitive and educational event, MDs are encouraged to select an event level which will challenge their ensemble, and the individual musicians therein, to continue developing their musical ability. It runs counter to the philosophy of the Festival for MDs to select an event below the ability level of their ensemble in order to ensure a Gold award.
While we understand that parental and school executive pressure to achieve a Gold award is a genuine issue, we believe it is far better if these parties are educated as to the true purpose of performing at the Festival, thus adding to the educational value of this musical experience.
Click the link to download the current event criteria.
Members of the Advisory Board are also available to assist you in making a decision (click link).
If your band improves ahead of your expectations during the year we can certainly enter and adjudicate you at a higher level at the Festival in July/August.
Similarly, if you lose players or your program is disrupted, we can move your band to a less challenging event level for your performance and adjudication.
Please contact the Festival General Manager to discuss your options.
Once your entry has been submitted it can only be withdrawn via the admin system. Contact the Festival General Manager to advise of your withdrawal.
Please see our Refund Policy.
A full range or large percussion equipment is supplied and all bands are expected to use the equipment unless they seek exemption from the Festival administration prior to the event.
The link below takes you to a full list of the equipment supplied and the stage plan for the how the gear will be set up on the day.
It is not permissible for tutors or school staff to play with the band at the Festival. We can, however, make some exceptions for touring bands, and the adjudicator will take this into account when determining the award.
If you experience issues with student absences due to prior commitments or sickness it is permissible for you to engage a student from another school to deputise for your players. In this instance the student would be expected to perform in their home school uniform. The General Manager is available to assist you in contacting schools which will be performing on the same day as your band is playing.
If there is an emergency situation and you are unable to perform without the assistance of tutors/school staff, there is the opportunity to perform for the adjudication only. In this instance the audience would be informed and no award would be presented at the awards ceremony at end of the event.
Please contact the General Manager if you have any questions regarding this policy.
We have both EARLYBIRD ENTRY and GENERAL ENTRY cut-off dates.
Click on the link below for the cut-off dates and entry fees.
Parents/students should meet outside the venue at which they are scheduled to play. Both venues have their own Warmup room facilities and photographers.
Your band should arrive at the venue on or prior to the arrival time published on the SBF website. Your band should remain together and you or your band organiser should make yourselves known to the SBF Volunteer staff.
If there is sufficient time, students and parents should enter the auditorium and listen to the performances of other bands, however, you should try and remain together in the auditorium so that Festival staff can find you.
From 2017 we are attempting to have the official photograph taken before you enter the warmup room. Approximately 30 minutes prior to your performance your band will be taken to a warm up room. Students will leave their cases etc. outside; only instruments and music will be taken into the warmup room. Please ensure no valuables are left with the cases.
The band will move straight from the warmup room to the stage. After your performance the band will move directly from the stage to the official photography area if this has not already taken place.
Students and parents should be encouraged to enter the auditorium and listen to the remainder of the section prior to the adjudication, however, they are free to leave at this stage.
An adjudication will take place at the end of each section (or around every 90 minutes for larger sections).
Conservatorium of Music
Yes, directly out the front of the main entrance. See the map below.
Clancy Auditorium, University of NSW Kensington
There are bus stops on either side of High Street, directly out the front of the venue (near Gate 8).