Home‎ > ‎About the Festival‎ > ‎

History

Lincoln Music & Drama Festival was founded in 1936 by Dr Gordon Slater, at that time organist of Lincoln Cathedral until his death in 1979. It was established as a competitive festival to promote and encourage artistic and literary appreciation by providing a platform for amateurs to perform a wide range of different aspects of music and drama. It is not a religious or denominational festival. World class adjudicators were engaged from the outset and performers have been awarded trophies, certificates and bursaries ever since. New classes have been introduced subsequently when appropriate but the aims have remained the same.

Classes are open to performers of all abilities and without geographical restriction. Ages range from about four years old to nearly 90, although approximately three quarters of performers are under 18. In an average year, we have 500 speech and drama entries and 400 music entries equating to over 2000 performers. 

Over the years, many of our performers have become renowned professionals in their field, including Sir Neville Marriner, Jane Eaglen and Ashley Wass. Many others have gone on to carve out illustrious careers, working in television and the West End both on stage and in orchestras and ensembles. Also, as a Grantham school-girl, Margaret Thatcher entered piano classes in our Festival.

Several different venues in Lincoln have provided a home for our Festival since its inception including ‘Big’ Wesley Chapel, Clasketgate; New Life Church, Newland and the Educational Centre, Beaumont Fee, to name a few. It is currently held in the Central Methodist Church, High Street, Lincoln.

Lincoln Music & Drama Festival has a reputation among adjudicators of being one of the best organised in the land with a warm atmosphere. Competition, although keen, is friendly. Also, central to our welcoming ethos, are the refreshments and lunches provided by the Church Catering Team.

The Festival is run by a band of enthusiastic and active volunteers. Committees are elected at the Annual General Meeting.

Lincoln Music and Drama Festival is a charity and is reliant on income from performers’ entry fees, audience admission charges, donations, advertising and Patrons’ subscriptions. Grants have been received from Lincolnshire County Council in the past but unfortunately this is no longer the case and the Festival does not receive any grants whatsoever.

The main items of expenditure are fees, travelling expenses and accommodation for adjudicators, hire of the venue, printing and the awarding of bursaries.

The Festival is very much part of the life of the City and we are most fortunate in that the Mayor and City Sheriff have always supported us in our endeavour and attend our annual Festival Concert.

Lincoln Music & Drama Festival is not just a cultural competition: it is a warm, friendly annual reunion of those who entertain and enthral and those who come to enjoy the wealth of developing talent which the Festival attracts.

Perhaps this is the year when you would like to enter.