National Festival

2nd - 6th


Symphony Hall, Town Hall, CBSO Centre & Royal Birmingham Conservatoire

Tues 2nd - Sat 6th July 2019

Time (Daily)
09:30 - 19:30

Ticket Information

Day and week audience passes are available

Day passes give you access to all National Festival venues on that day, including CBSO Centre and Royal Birmingham Conservatoire

National Festival

A five-day feast of live music! Hear the very best brass, classical, folk, choral and contemporary renditions from the UK’s leading young musicians.

Open to the public, every July around 8,000 of the UK’s brightest young musicians perform at world class venues and city-centre locations across Birmingham as part of the annual Music for Youth National Festival!

Everyone's invited to National Festival 2019!

Every young person who performs at a Regional Festival, or at one of the events in our new Local Event Network, is invited to Music for Youth's National Festival!


Highlights for 2018 included our free Schools Concert for primary-aged classes on Tuesday 3rd, while Friday was Jazz, World, Folk and Roots day with our Friday night jazz evening of brilliant young performers, hosted by Jazz FM's Instrumentalist of the Year, Nikki Yeoh

The rest of the week we played host to a huge variety of Orchestras, Choirs, Ensembles, Brass and Wind and Chamber ensembles across each of the days, as well as New Music Stage performances

As always, as well as the main stages of National Festival there was SO MUCH else to see and do, so we encourage everyone to make the most of their session, day, or week by getting involved with our Festival Fringe!

Right across National Festival week, all performers can get involved with pop-up performances on stages across the City Centre, and loads of different Festival Fringe workshops and hands-on sessions for all abilities, led by professional musicians and leading arts organisations.  


Our National Festival Supporters

National Festival 2018

Full details on the 2018 festival programme, which took place across Symphony Hall, Town Hall, the CBSO Centre, and Royal Birmingham Conservatoire

This year's National Festival Guide is available to view on our Issuu page


Tuesday 3rd July

MFY Schools Concert: Rhythm & Song

Time: 11:00am - 12:00pm

Over 2,000 FREE tickets available for school children!

Join Music for Youth for our first ever Schools Concert as part of the 2018 National Festival as we explore using the body as an instrument. Inspirational presenter, musician and workshop leader Sam Dunkley will engage your young people in a unique educational experience at Symphony Hall with the chance to hear performances from a variety of young performers from Birmingham and across the UK. .  

As well as providing a truly inspirational and engaging experience, attending this concert helps you complete two parts of Arts Award Discover and will contribute towards a variety of criteria required as part of the Artsmark journey. 

Free Tickets

Session: Choirs

Time(s): 13:00 - 16:00 and  16:45 – 19:45

Groups: Abbey Grange Chamber Choir, ACappella, Croesyceiliog School Senior Choir, Durham High School for Girls Chamber Choir, Harper Green Choir, Kent College Choristers, Madrigalis, Milton Keynes Youth Choir, Newport Cluster Choir, Northamptonshire County Youth Choir, Rastrick High School Choir, Redmaids' High School Chamber Choir, Somerset County Youth Show Choir, St Anthony's Senior Choir, Sutton Young Singers (SYS), TGS Motet Choir, Thomas Telford School Choir, Vocalize, Voxtet, Warwickshire Youth Chorale

Book Tickets

Session: Infants & Juniors

Time(s): 10:15 - 13:30 and  14:30 – 17:45

Groups: Big Choir and Orchestra, Elm Trio, Gillshill Y5 Samba, Grimsdell Mill Hill Pre-Prep School, Henllys, Primary Taiko, Little Voices, Littleborough Primary Brass Band, Long Bennington Rock Band, Maes Yr Haul Primary Samba Band yr 5 & 6, Moulton Primary Orchestra, NMPAT Wellingborough "Tuba Smarties", Rhythm is Quay, Silkstone Common J & I School, St John's Orchestra, St Mary's RC Primary Recorder Group, STERC Fusion, The Box Beaters, Thornhill Junior School, Uke 'n' toot 'n' tap 'n' bows, West Lynn Strummers and Drummers, Year 2 String Orchestra, Year 3 & 4 Choir

Session: Ensembles

Time(s): 10.15 – 12.10

Groups: Barking Abbey Ukulele Club, Guitarlactica, Hampshire Flute Choir, Musical Youth, The Nicolaou Junior Ensemble


Session: New Music Stage

Time(s): 16:30 - 19:00

Groups: Ellision, Fighter of the Nightman, Jack Robinson, Joshua Quinlan, Penelope Tollervey, Rap Club (Adam Kasozi, Kamanie McClymont, Keanu Reid, Elisha Njoku, Amaya Sewell, Adam Kasozi, Jordan White) and Rhiannon Davies

Wednesday 4th July

Session: Choirs

Time(s): 10:30 - 13:30 and  14:30 – 16:45 and  17:15 – 19:30

Groups: Barbershop at Locomotion, Brent Music Service Intermediate Choir South, Coldfall Primary School Choir, Côr Merched Sir Gâr, Gwent Youth Choir, Haven High Nuns, Massed Choir, MBA Choir, MDC, NEDMC Choir, Putney High School Junior Choir, Rainbow Forge Primary Academy, Ravenscourt, Park Preparatory School Chamber Choir, Rock Up and Sing Youth Choir, St Aidan's Chamber Choir, St Mary’s School Choir, St Peter's RC Primary School Choir, Stapeley Broad Lane Choir, SYM Una Voce, Tees Valley Youth Choir, TyrannoChorus Youth VOX, Year 5 and 6 Choir, Ysgol Gerdd Ceredigion

Session: Massed Ensembles (Fringe Takeover Day)

Time(s): 10:45

Group: Milton Keynes Massed Ensemble

Time(s): 15:00

Group: Love Music Trust Massed Ensemble

Audience Tickets for Fringe Takeover Day Sessions in Town Hall are Free

Suitable for all, audience spaces are free and open, just turn up! (And stick around after each one performance for a fun, mass-participation 'Living with Folk' workshop in the same space!)

Session: Ensembles

Time(s): 10:15 – 13:30 and 14:30 – 16:45 and 17:15 – 19:30

Groups: Ark Orchestra, Big Phat Brass, Birmingham Schools Brass Ensemble, Birmingham Schools Percussion Ensemble, Birmingham Schools Recorder Sinfonia, Bournemouth Youth Handbell Team, Bridgend, County Strings Plus Ensemble, Bridgend County Symphonic Brass Ensemble, Combined Newport and Torfean Music Centre Guitars, Ealing Percussion Academy Juniors, East Riding Flute Choir, Gwent Youth Percussion Ensemble, Hull Training Percussion Group, HWMC Clarinet Choir, Junior Prime Brass, Don't Fret, Les Six Flute Ensemble, Northamptonshire County Clarinet Choir, Pembrokshire Music Service Percussion Ensemble, Pencalenick Open School Orchestra , Wakefield Youth Percussion Ensemble

Thursday 5th July

Session: Brass Bands (School)

Time(s): 10:30 - 13:35

Groups: Bishop Stopford. School Brass Band, Egglescliffe School Brass Band, Hampton School Brass Band, Parklands Primary Brass Band, Smithy Bridge School Brass band, Sponne Brass band, The Blue Coat School Brass Band, Wardle Academy School Band

Session: Wind Bands (School)

Time(s): 14:30 – 16:50 and 17:15 - 19:30

Groups: Abraham Darby Academy Showband, Caerleon Comprehensive School Wind Orchestra, Corby Business Academy Senior Concert Band, Downend, Glossopdale School Wind Band, Hill House School, Concert Band, LES Symphonic Wind Band, Nottingham High School Concert Band, Sandbach School Wind Orchestra, St Aidan's Symphonic Wind Band, St Joseph’s School Wind Band, THE ALL STARS

Book Tickets

Session: Orchestras (School)

Time(s): 10:30 – 13:30

Groups: AGS Senior String Ensemble, Caerelon Comprehensive School String Orchestra, Northampton School for Boys Symphony Orchestra, Sir Thomas Picton School String Orchestra, Sponne String Orchestra, St Aidan's Symphony Orchestra, Warwick Foundation Symphony Orchestra


Session: Orchestras (String & Chamber)

Time(s): 14:30 – 17:30

Groups: Isca Linea Strings, Gloucestershire Youth String Orchestra, NLCS Senior Sinfonia, Northamptonshire String Sinfonia, Pembrokeshire Strings, Penzance Youth String Orchestra, WSM Senior Strings

Session: Chamber

Time(s): 10:15 – 13:15 and  17:00 – 19:35

Groups: CYM Piano Quartet JF, CYM String Quartet AM, Manor School Piano Trio, Otono Guitar Quartet, Piano Duet, RGS Saxophone Quartet, Segler Strings, STP Piano Trio, STP Vocal Quartet, The Original Trio 1


Session: Ensembles

Time(s): 14:15 – 16:30


Bellaneve, Brighton Youth Orchestra String Ensemble, Causeway Brass, Dixie Band, Duality Winds, Five Ways Brass, HillHouse School Guitar Orchestra, LES Flute Ensemble, Mash Up, Metalworks, NPTC Group Brass Ensemble, Sponnaissance, The Original Ensemble

Friday 6th July

Session: Brass Bands (Music Centre & Open)

Time(s): 10:15 - 13:35

Groups: Dobcross Youth Band, Houghton Area Youth Band, Lancashire Youth Brass Band, North East, Hampshire Area Schools Band, Northamptonshire County Youth Brass Band, Rochdale Youth Brass Band, Shepherd Group Youth Brass Band, Wigan Youth Brass Band, Youth Brass 2000


Session: Wind Bands (Music Centre & Open)

Time(s): 14:30 – 16:50 and  17:15 – 19:30

Groups: Advanced Wind Band, Bracknell Concert Band, Carmarthenshire County Wind Band, Carrick Winds, City of Hull Youth Symphonic Windband, Gloucestershire Youth Wind Orchestra, Gwent Youth Wind, Musica Shelley Senior Wind Band, Norfolk County Symphonic Wind Band, Oxfordshire Youth Wind Orchestra, Royal Birmingham Conservatoire Junior Wind Orchestra, West Sussex Youth Wind Orchestra

Session: Chamber

Time(s): 10:15 – 12:15

Groups: Quartettino, HBS String Trio, Holloway String Quartet, Peak Saxophone Quartet, Sfourzando, St Patricks Vocal Chamber Group


Session: Jazz (School)

Time(s): 13:00 – 16:00

Groups: Greenhead College Big Band, RGS Big Band, RWBA Swing Band, St Aidan's Swing Band, St Joseph’s Jazz Band, Stafford Grammar School Big Band, The Island Free School Jazz Ensemble, Northampton School for Boys Big Band


Session: Jazz (Combos)

Time(s): 17:00 – 19:00

Groups: Caerleon Comprehensive School Jazz Ensemble, Combo bandl, Essex Youth Jazz Quintet, Scissett Youth Band, Tomorrow's Warriors Youth Ensemble, University of Birmingham School Jazz Band 


Nikki Yeoh presents Music for Youth's Jazz Evening (Big Bands Music Centre & Open)

Time: 19:30 – 21:30

Groups: Musica Youth Jazz, New Notes Jazz Band, Northamptonshire County Jazz 2, Oxfordshire Youth Big Band, Peak District Big Band, University of Leicester Big Band, YMF Youth Jazz Orchestra

Please note: This event is ticketed separately to the rest of the National Festival. Tickets are available at a reduced price when bought in conjunction with a Friday day pass. 

  Session: World, Folk & Roots

Time(s): 10:30 – 13:10 and 14:30 – 16:45 and 17:15 – 19:30

Groups: Barry Road String Ensemble, Birmingham Schools Azaad Dhol Group, Cumann Ceoil Naomh Mhuire, Fiddlesticks, Hampshire Youth Folk Ensemble, London Youth Folk Ensemble, Ludlow Djembe Drummers, Oxford Youth Gamelan, Pimlico Academy - Trubaci Pimlicani, Plantology, Taiko Centre East, Wildfire Folk, Yangu Kingu Taiko Ensemble, Zingaresque


Session: World, Folk & Roots – Steel Pans

Time(s): 14:15 – 16:50

Groups: Badjacks Steel Band, Calcot School Steel Percussion Orchestra, Kingsdale Foundation School Steelband, Panatical Steel Band, PANtastic , Walthamstow School For Girls Y11 Steel Band

Saturday 7th July

Session: Orchestras (Music Centre & Open)

Time(s): 10:30 - 13:35 and 14:35 – 18:05

Groups: BANES Schools Philharmonic Orchestra, Bradford Youth Orchestra, City of Belfast Youth Orchestra, Cornwall Youth Orchestra, East Riding Youth Orchestra, Gloucestershire Youth Orchestra, Lincolnshire Youth Orchestra, MK Youth Orchestra, Musica Youth Orchestra, Northamptonshire County Youth Orchestra, Oldham Music Centre Youth Orchestra,, Oxford Schools Symphony Orchestra, Stoneleigh Youth Orchestra

Session: Chamber

Time(s): 10:30 - 12:30

Groups: Albemarle Clarinet Quintet, Saxation, Bakewell Bassoons, Efander String Quartet, Giovanetti String Quartet, Northamptonshire County Wind Dectet


Session: Rock, Pop, Funk & Soul

Time(s): 15:30 - 17:30 and  18:00 – 20:00

Groups: Backspace, Boston Youth Jazz Orchestra, D.A.M.N.E., Marseille, Musica Soul Band, NMA, Pacific Rain, Pangea, Rewired, St George's Academy Sixth Form Harmony Group, The Many, The Midnight Activists, The Random People, Funktionality

Been there, done that. Got the t-shirt!

Official Merchandise - National Festival 2018

T-Shirts, Photographs and Festival Guides are available to purchase at all National Festival venues

Festival Guide: £3.50

T-Shirt: £8

National Festival Bundle - Festival Guide & T-shirt: £10


Professional Photos from Splaat Media

We've partnered with Splaat Media to photograph all National Festival performances.

Images will be available for purchase online at

Every purchase you make supports young musicians through Music for Youth’s annual programme.

Splaat Media Photo Display