Milton Keynes Festival of the Arts for Dance, Music and Drama was introduced in 1968 by a group of residents in Bletchley. 50 years on it is as old as Milton Keynes itself and celebrates its golden anniversary this year with the largest number of amateur performers, taking part, over 3,500, in its history.
The festival runs for several weeks throughout February and early March and each performer receives constructive verbal and written feedback from a professional adjudicator and a graded certificate, plus there are also medals, money prizes and trophies awarded. To mark its landmark anniversary the festival also has several generous bursaries to award to help performers in honing their skills further, plus travel awards for schools to assist with the cost of coach transport to get pupils to its choirs festival.
Run by a small team of dedicated volunteers on an entirely self – financing basis, as an educational charity, the festivals aim is to encourage the development and enjoyment of the performing arts in our area, for adults and children of all ages and levels of ability. Unlike many other competitive events, the aim is to value every performance and make it a special, meaningful but nonetheless enjoyable event everyone taking part, rather than an accent on “winning”.
Festival organiser Pat Haig told us “Each year the festival goes from strength to strength and there is no other organisation or event like this in Milton Keynes for amateur performers to perform in front of an industry professional and receive useful and constructive comments to help them move forward. We are so fortunate to be sponsored by Kawai Pianos UK, who are based in Milton Keynes, and who provide us with 6 wonderful concert pianos for our performers’ use. The event has a very friendly atmosphere and we welcome family, friends and members of the general public to turn up to any of the events and enjoy the performances which take place at Walton High. We also have a wonderful school choirs and barbershop event at The Ridgeway Centre, Wolverton which closes our festival on a great high, plus we are showcasing the talents of Milton Keynes junior musicians further with our Young Singer and Young Musician of the Year competitions.”
For more details about Milton Keynes Festival performances go to the website www.miltonkeynesfestival.org