A bit of history of the BMCF


The foundation of the British Federation of Music Competitive Festivals in 1921 encouraged Sir Dan Godfrey (founder conductor of the Bournemouth Municipal later Symphony Orchestra) to urge the establishment of a festival in Bournemouth in 1926. Some 7000 competitors came together in the original Winter Gardens to compete in music, speech and drama. The success of this first festival ensured the establishment of annual festivals until 1942, and after a gap in the Second World War, the festival was re-instated in 1945. The only other gap in the festival's history was the Coronavirus year of 2020.


The venues in recent years have included the now sadly demolished Winter Gardens, The Shelley Theatre and Bournemouth Pavilion where, except for 2021, the Choirs Days and the final Celebration Concert are held.


This year, we are taking all the speech, drama, instrumental and vocal classes to the Freemasons' Hall in Knole Road, Boscombe, where the facilities will suit us very well.


For the Dance Festival, our association with Queen Elizabeth's school in Wimborne, whilst a little out of Bournemouth, has proved very successful thanks to the superb facilities and support from the staff there. It's a pity that the A31 from Ringwood into Wimborne is such a ghastly stretch of road. We would advise all our dancers to give themselves an extra 15 minutes travel time to make sure you arrive in plenty of time. 


A feature of recent years has been the striving to reflect current trends in arts and culture as well as preserving the best of the past. Former competitors include the cellist Natalie Klein, pianist Alison Farr, and our Patron, conductor Peter Stark. The emphasis is on participation and enjoyment as well as adjudication, and this is reflected in excellent standards within a safe and friendly environment.


In addition to the Committee the festival is fortunate to have the services of many volunteers who are dedicated to furthering its aims and objectives. We are grateful to the Town Mayor of Bournemouth for her continued support and, we are delighted to continue our association with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra through whom we expect to see a continuing reviving interest in our instrumental classes, along with the BSO Instrumental Prize for the Young Musician of the Year.