Rules & Regulations

It is the responsibility of each ensemble director to be familiar with the Rules and Regulations and all pertinent information, and review these guidelines with all participants and personnel in preparation for attending the Golden Horseshoe Music Festival. Concerns regarding the Rules and Regulations should be discussed with the GHMF Organizing Committee.

1. Festival Participation

Participation in the Golden Horseshoe Music Festival is open to all performing groups in the areas of concert band, string orchestra, symphony orchestra and jazz band, jazz combos, or instrumental chamber ensembles.  Ensembles may be associated with a public, Catholic or private school, or exist as a community ensemble.

2. Categories of Ensembles

  1. Instrumental Jazz
  2. Concert Band / Wind Ensemble
  3. String Orchestra / Symphony Orchestra

3. Registration Fees

Payment is due within 30 days of invoice date. You will receive an invoice within 2 days of registration. If fees are not received within 30 days, your selected times on the schedule will be released and made open to the public.

Refunds will be issued in the following situations only:

  • if the cancellation is due to the teachers’ federation to which the director belongs having ordered that teacher involvement in extra-curricular groups be discontinued in the school’s board (ie federation-mandated work to rule in your panel and your board);
  • if the cancellation is due to the teachers’ federation to which the director belongs having ordered a work stoppage in the school’s board (ie federation-mandated strike in your panel and your board);
  • if the Golden Horseshoe Music Festival is cancelled.
  • Please note, if there is inclement weather and your board cancels activities and bussing, we will not be able to issue a refund. We will do our best to reschedule you if there are times available and/or accommodate a video submission for adjudication at a later date.

4. Standard of Performance

Groups which opt to play to the standard will be required to adhere to all rules and regulations outlined in this document. These rules and regulations have been established to maintain the educational integrity and management effectiveness of the Golden Horseshoe Music Festival. It should be noted that Concert Bands playing to the standard must select one piece from the Musicfest Canada Concert Band Syllabus or the Ontario Band Association PBF Syllabus Please note that the syllabus is updated every year and must be adhered to in its most current form. Gold, Silver, and Bronze Standards of Performance are recognized by the Golden Horseshoe Music Festival in various classes.

  • Gold Standard signifies that a group is demonstrating an exceedingly high standard of musical excellence and merits an invitation to participate in the MusicFest Nationals
  • Silver Standard signifies an above average quality of performance with the latitude for improvement. Adjudicators reserve the right to assess and use the “Silver Plus” rating.
  • Bronze Standard acknowledges an average quality performance.

Musical integrity will be the basis of evaluation. Adjudicators will consider stylistic interpretation, intonation, dynamics, attacks, releases, articulations, balance, instrumentation, phrasing, repertoire, and improvisation and diction where they apply. Adjudicators’ comments will reflect a total assessment of the performance selections. Written and/or recorded adjudications will be made available at the conclusion of the Festival.  The award of Gold, Silver, and Bronze Standard of Performance Awards presented in the class will be at the SOLE DISCRETION OF THE ADJUDICATORS. Adjudicators will issue awards solely on the basis of performance. There will be no ranking of groups, and the number of awards at any standard is not limited. All award decisions are final.

N.B. For groups intending to participate at MusicFest Canada    it is the responsibility of the Director to be familiar with the rules and regulations of MusicFest Canada. The GHMF is an affiliate with MusicFest Canada and to obtain an invitation, your group must receive a gold or silver plus standard at the Golden Horseshoe Music Festival.

5. Clinic Only

Groups who prefer not to be adjudicated to the Standard of Performance as outlined above in section 4 are welcome to participate as a “Clinic Only” ensemble.  No restrictions will be placed on the ensemble, nor will they be evaluated against the Gold, Silver, Bronze standard.  Instead, ensembles will be invited to perform and will receive a clinic with one of the festival adjudicators, where students will receive immediate feedback.  Instrumentation, age, institutional affiliation and selection of music will depend on the director and the individual circumstances involved. Groups which opt for a Clinic Only are requested to prepare two or three contrasting selections (all styles/genres are acceptable) to be performed for the clinicians. These will be adjudicated in the broadest of terms so as to permit the clinicians to focus on the specific needs of the ensemble. Sessions will be as flexible as possible so that the clinicians can cater to the requirements of the group.

6. Scheduling

To facilitate scheduling, please inform the Golden Horseshoe Music Festival committee of any school or community conflicts that will occur during the Festival. Scheduling is done on a first come, first serve basis. Every effort will be made to accommodate any special scheduling requests, however once the master schedule has been printed there will be no alterations except under the following circumstances:

  1. In exceptional circumstances ensembles may, in consultation with GHMF Organizing Committee, change scheduled slots if,  in the opinion of the Rules and Regulations Committee,  sufficient notice has been given to accommodate the change. Schedule alterations will also depend on mutual agreement between directors in the slots involved unless there is an open slot available. The ruling of the Organizing Committee will be final. Please note that slot-swaps will be completed and approved by the festival registrar.
  2. Alterations may also result from delays and unforeseen circumstances experienced during the GHMF,  which will be dealt with as efficiently as possible so as not to interfere with the master schedule. In no case will an extension be given beyond the assigned time unless it is the fault of GHMF, and then only at the discretion of the Organizing Committee.

7. Supervision and Conduct

Directors and participating ensembles have the sole responsibility for the conduct of ensemble members during the Golden Horseshoe Music Festival. Directors must maintain proper order and conduct of their group at the performance venue and all other GHMF sites. Directors must solicit the assistance of sufficient supervisors to ensure orderly behavior. It is expected that participants will demonstrate respect at all times for the rights of others and conform to the regulations and bylaws of the Hamilton Wentworth District School Board (our host and venue partner). Problems and violations brought to the attention of the Organizing  Committee will be dealt with appropriately and may result in disciplinary action. Failure to maintain orderly conduct will result in dismissal.

8. Use of Festival Equipment and Liability Disclaimer

Participants of the Golden Horseshoe Music Festival will be provided the use of various equipment for their performance(s) Click here for a comprehensive list of Festival-provided equipment. Percussionists and drummers may ADD BUT NOT SUBSTITUTE drums, cymbals, or other hardware / instruments to the setup. While the Festival will provide rooms for participants to place instruments, coats, and other belongings during their performance(s), the Festival is not liable for lost or damaged items at any of the Festival venues. A lost and found bin will be located at the Festival registration desk. Upon conclusion of the Festival all lost and found items will be held for 30 days only, after which time unclaimed items will be discarded.



9. Photography/Media Release

The Golden Horseshoe Music Festival committee and/or others authorized by the committee may be photographing or taping various segments of the GHMF for future use in publications, websites, social media feeds/accounts, or broadcasts. Participation in the publications, websites, or broadcasts is at the option of the Golden Horseshoe Music Festival committee or the producers. UNLESS THEY HAVE NOTIFIED THE FESTIVAL IN WRITING THAT THEY DO NO WISH TO PARTICIPATE, all ensembles will be considered to be participating with consent.

Registration for the Festival constitutes the granting by the ensemble of permission for such photographing, audio and/ or video taping and constitutes a waiver of all fees and royalties unless the Festival is notified in advance in writing. Please ensure that you have obtained media releases as per your school and school board’s requirements.

10. Suspension, Dismissal and Appeals

The Golden Horseshoe Music Festival reserves the right to enact the following sanctions for violation of the Rules and Regulations:

  1. SUSPENSION: Suspension will result from flagrant time violations, age infractions, illegal substitution, and other rule infractions deemed by the Organizing Committee to constitute grounds for suspension. An ensemble which has been suspended shall be deemed ineligible for all GHMF awards.
  2. DISMISSAL: Dismissal will result from conduct which is perceived to be detrimental to the aims of Golden Horseshoe Music Festival. An ensemble which has been dismissed will have all rights and privileges of participating in the Golden Horseshoe Music Festival revoked.
  3. APPEAL OF SUSPENSION OR DISMISSAL: Appeal will be made in writing to the Festival Co-ordinator who, in consultation with the committee members, will review the sanction and notify the Director of the ensemble of the decision. All such decisions will be final.

It is the responsibility of each ensemble director to discuss the Rules and Regulations and all pertinent information with all participants in preparation for attending the Golden Horseshoe Music Festival. Concerns regarding the Rules and Regulations should be discussed with the Rules and Regulations Committee.

*Directors are advised to review the festival rules and regulations every year as important revisions are common. The Golden Horseshoe Music
Festival staff and committee will enforce all festival rules and regulations. The management and organizing committee will consider all disputes. The Committee’s decision will be final.