About Us

Previously known as the Isle of Wight Musical Competition Festival, the Isle of Wight Music, Dance and Drama Festival underwent a name change in June 2013 as it was felt that the old name was too inadequate to convey the breadth of performance disciplines that it encompassed.  The Festival was founded in 1924 and in 2020 is celebrating its 90th year (there having been a break during WWII).

The Isle of Wight Music, Dance & Drama Festival (IWMDDF), a registered charity, is established to advance, promote and encourage generally, and by means of the Competition Festival Movement in particular, the study and practice of the arts of Music, Dancing, Elocution, Literature and Acting in all their branches. The IWMDDF provides a platform for amateur performance combined with an educational element from professional musicians, dancers and speakers.

The competition is run over three weeks every March with around 400 classes attracting around 2000 entries. A number of young people taking part go on to careers in music, dance and drama.  The IWMDDF is affiliated to the British and International Federation of Festivals for Music, Dance and Speech (www.federationoffestivals.org.uk), which also started in the early 1900s.  It is run under their rules and we are open to inspection by them at any time.  All sessions are run by adequate numbers of IWMDDF stewards and officials to ensure that they are correctly and effectively run.  IWMDDF officials and stewards are volunteers and the IWMDDF holds records of all their addresses and demands references for all volunteers.  IWMDDF officials and stewards are provided with short job descriptions, and where necessary officials are required to undertake an enhanced disclosure from the Criminal Records Bureau.  All Festival personnel are identified by the special IWMDDF badge, which bears those letters and the British Federation of Festivals logo.  Full records are kept of who performed and the marks received.

We consider that it is important to give those taking part the correct environment in which to perform so all the Speech and Drama sessions are held in a hall with a stage and most of the music sessions are held in All Saints Church Ryde, which has excellent acoustics.  The “Rock and Pop” classes are held in Shanklin Theatre with its professional sound engineer and system and held out of school hours.   All the Dance sessions are also held in Shanklin Theatre giving the dancers a large stage with theatre lighting.  The Dance adjudicator and their assistant are positioned on a specially constructed raised podium to give them a full view of the dancers.

In alternate years our Dance section forms part of the All England Dance competition (www.all-england-dance.org.uk), founded in 1923 and whose main purpose is educational.

All classes are judged by paid professional national and international adjudicators who have been assessed and approved by the British and International Federation of Festivals for Music, Dance and Speech. All performers are given a written assessment of their performance by the Adjudicator.

At the Community Action Awards 2017 Ceremony we were awarded first place in our category, Arts and Heritage, one of 8 categories eligible for the competition.  The aim is to encourage and reward the dedication within the voluntary sector, focusing on volunteering, local achievement and self-help.  We were  also declared overall runner-up.  We feel very honoured to receive these awards amongst all the other dedicated volunteer organisations in the competition.