Penistone Competitive Music Festival was founded in 1969 by Millhouse Green Male Voice Choir and was intended only as a ‘one-off’ event to celebrate the centenary of the Town Council. This was a single evening’s competition purely for choirs of which there were five. After the initial competition a separate committee was formed although this retained some of the choir members for a number of years.

Throughout the years many classes have been added – and some removed –  the Festival now covering all age ranges for piano, instrumentalists and singing. In 1976, a whole range of speech classes were added to the syllabus, however, these were dropped after the 2002 Festival though this was not through lack of support.

From its beginning and up to 1978 the Festival had been held at the Town Hall but in 1979 moved to the Grammar School where, apart from the main hall, there were two music rooms for competitors to practice. Another major change took place in 2011 when the old school was demolished and replaced by an Advanced Learning Centre. The change to the new venue went smoothly and the excellent additional facilities were much appreciated by all participating parties.

In 50 Festivals there have been a total of 6,305 entries : 4,544 music and 1,761 speech. For some, the Festival has been a springboard to greater things – stage, screen, radio and quite a number have become music teachers or professional musicians.


The costs of staging a Music Festival are quite high and increase year by year. Our principal income comes from entry fees plus what we take on the door on Festival day but this does not meet the costs by any means. The balance is made up by our patrons, who seem to have local culture and activities very much at heart and we depend on the generosity of such support for the survival of the Festival, for without patrons there would be no Festival.

As a patron you will have free entry to the Festival, a Festival programme (available 7 to 10 days prior to the event) and of course, your name in the programme.

If you would like to become a patron, a donation, however small, will be greatly appreciated and should be sent to either the secretary or any committee member.

Please click here to download a form with all the details.