What is the Abertawe Festival for Young Musicians?

ABERTAWE FESTIVAL for YOUNG MUSICIANS is a member of  The British and International Federation of Festivals of Music, Dance and Drama, of which Her Majesty the Queen is Patron


The ‘AFYM’ exists to improve and widen music education, and to provide performance opportunities and support in general for young musicians across the region. It is run by an honorary committee and supported by a host of volunteer stewards.


AFYM is an annual event comprising of competitive and non-competitive classes in Piano, Strings, Woodwind and Ensemble sections. We hold a Primary Schools Day including school ensembles, recorder solos, as well as duet and group classes.


There are classes for all ages and all abilities. Informal workshops are held throughout the six days of the festival which is held in three glorious venues at the Guildhall, Grand Theatre, Swansea and All Souls Church, Tycoch.


BBC NOW run workshop days here at the festival and the lucky AFYM students have the opportunity to attend a BBC NOW concert for which the tickets are sponsored by the BBC NOW Education Department. The City and County of Swansea also help with the smooth running of the festival along with students from the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama who do placements with us during the festival as well as Swansea Metropoliton University.


When finances permit the AFYM offers Bursary Awards, either to individuals or to schools. Awards have been given to: Blaen y Maes Primary School to purchase instruments, Clase Primary School to buy guitars.
To individual students to help with; The purchase of a piano stool, the purchase of a flute/alto flute, summer school fees, youth orchestra fees.



The AFYM was founded in 1993 by two local music teachers Nicky Excell and Penny Davies. They had a vision to improve and widen music education for all children, providing support and performance opportunities for these ever growing musicians. Featuring competitive and non-competitive classes for players of instruments both as soloists and ensembles, the first Festival took place in the Taliesin Arts Centre and involved 70 children. With adjudicators being drawn from the nation’s top performers and music educators the festival has grown in strength and numbers over the years and in 2010 there were approximately 700 children involved. Performers are invited to come from all over South Wales, including Haverfordwest to Newport, Hereford to Peterborough and sometimes all the way from London. Since the festival has grown, so has the space in which it is performed in. We are now housed in the Guildhall complex making use of the stunning facilities at the Brangwyn Hall. We are ever grateful to the City and County of Swansea for the continued use of such a beautiful building over the last few years.


Each year the Festival hosts a Masterclass with one of our nation’s top performers offering all performers the chance to take up this wonderful opportunity to advance their skills. In 2012 & 2013, International saxophonist Gerard McChrystal took a workshop for saxophone players culminating in a group performance in the Brangwyn Hall. Workshops also take place throughout the festival and 2013 saw the return of our successful partnership with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales who held a string workshop.  2014 will see the rerurn of our saxophone workshop with Gerard McChrystal, Harp Workshop with Valerie Aldrich-Smith, as well as a workshop with Paul Harris where participants will get to play Paul Harris compositions with the composers own workshop feedback.


AFYM students have gone on to study at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, Royal Academy of Music, Royal College of Music, Guildhall School of Music and Drama, Trinity College (London), Royal Northern College of Music, Yehudi Menhuin School, Purcell School, Chethams Music school, Wells Music School. Some have gone on to study abroad, notably in Hungary, and some have even gained orchestral positions. Our performers regularly gain prizes at the Eisteddfod, in the BBC Young Musician of the Year, The Texaco Young Musician of Wales, and in the Young Musician of Dyfed Competitions.

Hannah Stone, the previous Royal Harpist, is an ex AFYM performer, the current Royal Harpist Anne Denholm, as was Claire Jones another previous Royal Harpist. Also, Huw Morgan, an ex AFYM Trumpet performer won the Royal Overseas League Competition.


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Penny Davies
Vice Chairperson
Phyll Barclay
Vice-Chairperson & Syllabus Secretary
Ann Brown
Treasurer & Patrons' Secretary
Diane Workman
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Lilian Morgan
Workshop Co-ordinator
Carl Johnson
Programme & Online Entries Secretary
Caroline Johnson
Concert Secretary
Margaret Denholm
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Publicity Officer
David Workman
Rota Secretary
Colin Fielder
Sponsorship Secretary
Sonia Gittoes
Lynne Novis
AFYM President Pam Wedgwood

Contact information for committee members:















PhyllBarclay@afym.org.uk |





2020 Festival.


Applications for AFYM 2020 will open in September 2019

Application Deadline: 31st October 2019

Our application process will be changing from September 2019 ready for the AFYM 2020 classes. Applications will take place online only and more information on how to do this will be coming here very soon. Please bear with us while we make the necessary changes to make the whole application process much easier for you.

Thank you for your patience.


BBC NOW Workshop Schools Day MAIN FESTIVAL Festival Concert
Tuesday 14 January 2020
6pm – 8pmBisop Gore School,
Friday 31 January 2020

St Mary’s Church,

Friday 7 February – Monday 10 February 2020

The Guildhall,

Sunday 15 March 2020


Taliesin Arts Centre,
Swansea University


Here you should find all the important rules and conditions of entry as well as our safeguarding and child protection policies.

If you have any further questions then just get in touch via the CONTACT page.

We recommend you read and familiarise yourself with the Rules and Conditions of Entry before applying.


  1. ENTRIES: Those making an entry, and all performers, must agree to abide by the rules. AFYM reserves the right to refuse entries from anyone who breaks the rules. Entries are made via the AFYM website www.afym.org.uk
  2. NO LATE ENTRIES WILL BE ACCEPTED: Entries will be possible until 23.30 on 31st October 2019. No entries will be possible after this time.
  3. ENTRY FEES: Entry fees are payable during online registration and are
  4. AMATEUR STATUS: The Abertawe Festival for Young Musicians is open to amateurs only. An amateur for these purposes is defined as a person who does not receive the chief part of his/her income from the teaching or practice of the subject in which he/she is competing. The Festival Committee shall resolve any dispute regarding eligibility.
  5. AGE LIMITS: The age limit for each class is 18 years unless otherwise stated. The age of the performer on the first day of the Festival will be deemed to be his or her age for the purpose of entry.
  6. PERFORMER SUBSTITUTION: Performers named in the programme must perform. No substitution is allowed, otherwise the performance will be disqualified, which means that the performance will be permitted but cannot be part of the competition and cannot win a medal.   If there is uncertainty about performer availability, you are advised to give your duet/group a general name, e.g. The Smith Duo.
  7. ALL CLASSES, OWN CHOICE REQUIREMENTS: Performers in all classes do not need to state own choice pieces at the time of entry. However
    A performance which over-runs the time limit may be stopped. Performers will need to complete a Musical Administration Document (MAD slip) giving titles and composers of their piece/s and attach it to the adjudicator’s copy of their music that they bring to the AFYM on the day of performance. The MAD slip can be downloaded from the AFYM website.
  8. GRADE CLASSES: Please ensure that selected pieces are of the correct standard. Anyone playing a much more difficult piece than the grade stipulated risks being penalised and/or disqualified.
  9. ADJUDICATOR’S COPIES: On the day of the class, the performer must provide a copy of each own-choice selection for the adjudicator. This should be clearly marked with the competitor’s name, class and ballot number. Photocopies will NOT be accepted except in the following circumstance: when an own choice work is selected from a publication containing several different works and which is not available separately, one copy may be made for the use of the adjudicator provided that the competitor has already purchased his/her own copy. The photocopy will be destroyed by the Festival immediately after the event.
  10. COPYRIGHT: It is not allowed for a performer to play from a photocopy at the AFYM. Photocopying of music is illegal except when the copy is for the use of the adjudicator. It is permitted for a performer to play from a legal download from the internet. The performer should mark on the copy given to the adjudicator that the copy to be used by the performer is a legal download. The Festival reserves the right to ask to see a performer’s music to check that a legal download is being used, not an illegal photocopy.
  11. ACCOMPANISTS: Performers must provide their own accompanist where appropriate and all pieces incorporating keyboard accompaniment should include that accompaniment in performance. No accompaniment tapes/recordings may be used.
  12. The Festival Committee reserves the right:
    (a) to limit, combine, cancel or sub-divide any class;
    (b) to refuse any entry without assigning a reason;
    (c) to close classes before the closing date if sufficient entries have been received;
    (d) a competitive class with only one entry automatically becomes non-competitive.
  13. All performers will receive a written report and certificate. In competitive classes a Gold medal will be awarded to First in Class; and Silver medals will be awarded as the adjudicator decides.
  14. A performer may perform more than once in any one class provided that a different instrument is played in each performance.
  15. Performers are limited to entry into a maximum of FIVE SOLO CLASSES on each of their instruments. They may enter duet and ensemble classes in addition to this.
  16. ADJUDICATOR’S DECISIONS in all matters relating to musical results, are final.
  17. No teacher, performer or parent may approach the adjudicator’s table unless invited.
  18. NO VIDEO/PHOTOGRAPH taken at an AFYM event is to be uploaded on to any form of social media, e.g. Facebook. Those responsible for entering performers must agree to abide by all the rules including this one.   AFYM reserves the right to refuse entries from any performer who breaks the rules.
  19. DEPORTMENT: Competitors are expected to produce a “professional” performance, well prepared and presented.
  20. The Festival Committee does not hold itself responsible for any injuries sustained by any competitor or member of the public whilst on Festival premises. The Festival Committee will also not be held responsible for any loss or damage to instruments, music, mark sheets or any other property at the Festival.

AFYM – Child Protection Policy

The British and International Federation of Festivals for Music, Dance and Speech work for amateur festivals everywhere to help create thousands of educational performance opportunities for children and young people each year.

The Federation, and our member Festivals, are committed to ensuring safe environments for children and young people and believe that it is always unacceptable for a child or young person to experience abuse of any kind. We recognise our responsibility to safeguard the welfare of all children and young people, by a commitment to recommend best practice which protects them.

This policy applies to our Board of Trustees, paid staff, Adjudicator members, volunteers, students or anyone working on behalf of the Federation and our member Festivals.

We recognise that:

  • the welfare of the child/young person is paramount
  • all children, regardless of age, disability, gender, racial heritage, religious belief, sexual orientation or identity, have the right to equal protection from all types of harm or abuse
  • working in partnership with children, young people, their parents, carers and other agencies is essential in promoting young people’s welfare.

The purpose of the policy:

  • to provide protection for the children and young people who participate in our festivals, including the children of festival members
  • to provide staff and volunteers with guidance on procedures they should adopt in the event that they suspect a child or young person may be experiencing, or be at risk of, harm.

We will seek to safeguard children and young people by:

  • valuing them, listening to and respecting them
  • adopting child protection guidelines through procedures and safe working practice for staff and volunteers
  • recruiting staff and volunteers safely, ensuring all necessary checks are made
  • sharing information about child protection and safe working practice with children, parents, staff and volunteers
  • sharing information about concerns with agencies who need to know, and involving parents and children appropriately
  • providing effective management for staff and volunteers through supervision, support and training.

The Federation will review this policy each year in November in line with Safe Network guidance or sooner in light of any changes in legislation or guidance. All changes will be communicated to our member Festivals in time for the start of the new Festival year.

Creating Safer Festivals for Everyone

The Federation and its member Festivals use the following policies and procedures to create Safer Festivals for everyone:

  • A single, definitive Child Protection Policy adopted by all Federation Festivals.
  • One or more designated Festival Safeguarding Officers (FSO) appointed for each Federation Festival.

Best practice advice in the form of Safe Working Practice and Festival Child Protection leaflets, with support and training for all Festival staff and volunteers. Including clear reporting procedures for anyone with a concern about a child.

Appropriate recruitment and induction procedures for all new Festival staff and volunteers responsible for providing safe environments for everyone attending / performing at a Federation Festival.

All Festival stewards wear a badge and our committee members wear a YELLOW lanyard. All teachers/parents/guardians/carers are asked to report all incidents of any nature to anyone wearing a YELLOW lanyard. All reported incidents will be handled in accordance with the Safe Working Practice and Festival Child Protection best practice advice. In addition we will ensure the availability of a quiet area / room where concerns can be expressed in private.

For the duration of the Festival all teachers/parents/guardians/carers are responsible for the continuous care and supervision of their own children/pupils/vulnerable adults. If they are unable to attend personally, they must delegate their responsibilities to an identified adult and ensure that their children/pupils/vulnerable adults are aware of the identity and name of the person responsible for their care. This includes supervision throughout all Festival venues, performance, practice and changing areas that may be provided. AFYM stewards only provide supervision when performers are backstage for the Festival Concert.

In the case of workshops, you are responsible for the safety of your child/children whether you attend the workshop or not. Please ensure that you collect your children at the end of the workshop.

No unauthorised photography or video recording is allowed at our Festivals. Where parents/guardians/carers do not wish photos to be taken at all, then the responsible adult attending should ensure that their child/pupil/vulnerable adult is not included in official authorised photos. Photos will be kept for no more than two years for use in the programme, on the website and on the video. In practice they will be removed from the website every year, while the video is usually shown for only one year. Photographs will be kept indefinitely for archival use on the notice boards on display at the festival each year.

Some children and vulnerable adults may have specific needs in order to take part. If this is the case we ask the responsible teachers/parents/guardians/carers to contact the Festival prior to arrival. The Festival actively seeks wherever possible to meet these needs, but must know beforehand in order to prepare support – or to advise that help cannot be provided on this occasion.

The Festival’s Child Protection Policy and approach to Creating Safer Festivals for Everyone is published explicitly in our Syllabus, Programme and on our website. By completing and signing the entry form all parents / guardians / carers and teachers of entrants under 18 (or vulnerable adults of any age) confirm that they give (or have obtained) the necessary consents for the entrants to take part in the Festival. Without consent the entry to the Festival cannot be accepted.


We store securely names, addresses, telephone numbers and e-mail addresses of all contacts.

This information is collected by the AFYM committee to maintain communication with contacts regarding the festival, the concert and other events that should be of interest.

The contact information will not be shared with any third party.

You are entitled to obtain any information we hold on you and you have the right to have your personal data deleted. If there has been no communication for three years we will delete the information.

For further information, please contact AFYM on PhyllBarclay@AFYM.org.uk



Becoming a Sponsor

Various packages are available for business sponsors, for example, music prizes or hall hire, all with varying levels of commitment. However, you may prefer an arrangement tailored to your own requirements, or if you just wish to make a donation of any kind please contact our Sponsorship Secretary, Sonia Gittoes on SoniaGittoes@afym.org.uk


Austin Bailey Foundation | Britannia Robbins of Swansea and Cardiff | Cardiff Violins | ComputerAid | The Gower Festival | Infinity Document Solutions | Integral Geotechnique | Konica Minolta (Business Solutions) UK | Peter Lynn & Partners, Solicitors | Pobl (formerly Gwalia Housing Association) | Swansea Building Society | City and County of Swansea | The Friends of Swansea Festival of Music and the Arts | The Freemasons of West Wales | Western Power Distribution Solutions


Bill Anderson | Mrs M Bennett-Joynson | Mr F Coakley-Greene | Margaret and Steve Davies | Vernon and Gwyneth Davies Memorial prize | Dr Fiona Gannon | Angela and David George | Mr David Goldstone | Mrs Delyth Holland | Mr and Mrs Joannides | Mr Geraint Jeffreys | Mr John Llewellyn | Mrs B McIntee | Mr Jim Phillipps | Mr and Mrs Probert, L’Amuse | Mrs Helen Turbervill | Mr and Mrs David and Diane Workman


Becoming a Patron

Our Patrons, listed here, are unsung heroes. They do receive a free programme for the Festival, but we know that their motives for becoming patrons are much more altruistic. They want to support the Festival and the work we are doing for young musicians in the area. Why not join us? For as little as £15 a year per person you can share in this generous act of support. Contact our Treasurer and Patrons’ Secretary, Diane Workman on DianeWorkman@afym.org.uk to find out more


Mr and Mrs D Attwell | Mrs J Barter | Angela Baxter | Deborah & Kevin Bennett | Dr Inez Bowen | Mrs Sheila Branchflower | Mrs M Broady | M Caruana | Yvonne Chatterton | My Andrew Davies | Dr RM & Dr LA Cook | Mrs Haydn and E M Craven | Mr Brian Davies | Mrs Gwyneth Davies | Miss Lee Davies | Mr S and Dr M Davies | Dr and Mrs B Davison | Mrs M Denholm | Mrs Maureen Donald | Mavis Downey | David & Catherine Evans | Mr and Mrs S Emery | CP & HMP Fielder | DL George | C Gibbons | CI Gill | Mrs S Gittoes | Miss Ann Harry | Penny Henderson | Mrs Delyth Holland | Ann Hoskins | Mrs Sharon Hurlow | Mrs Olive Jackson | Mrs Heather James  |  Mr Geraint Jeffreys | Allayn Jenkins | Eifion & Joy Jenkins | Mrs Jan Jenkins | Dr Mason Jepsen | Mr and Mrs T Joannides | E John | Mrs and Mrs P John | Haulwen Jones | Olwen Jones | Dr DH & Mrs SJ Jones | Mrs M Joynson | Dr Robert & Mrs Jacqueling King | Mr Noel and Mrs Elizabeth Lewis | Mr John Llewellyn | Mr & Mrs Luporini | B McIntee | R & K Millard | I & J Milne | Alderman H Morgan | Branwen Munn | Lilian MOegan | JM Nielson | Mr & Mrs L & G Nutt | J Nettleship | Sarah Noel | Wendy Noel | Mr & Mrs A Olsen | Jeremy Novis | Doreen Owen | Caroline Palmer | Mrs J Palmer | Mrs Jessie Payze | Mrs Ruth Perry | Mr J Phillipps | Mr John Phillipps | Rt. Rev Anthony Pierce | Priscilla Pitt | Mr and Mrs E Place | Mrs Julie Powell | Mr & Mrs C Probert | Mrs Julie Pugsley | Mr Wayne Richards | Dr Raasch | Barbara Roberts Mrs Catherine Roberts | G Roper | Vivienne Saunders | GB Roberts | Cathy Seacombe | Mrs Emma Shakeshaft | Mr and Mrs Sherrard-Smith | Lucy Slane | Edmund Sides & Rhiannon Barrar | Mrs Raydene Sparrow | Mr and Dr Steane | Fran Thomas | JMC Thomas | Mr and Mrs M Turbervill | Mrs G Wheway | H & J White | Mr and Mrs R Wigley | Helen & Paul Woodford


Kieran has thoroughly enjoyed his experience both competing and playing with the AYFM and is looking forward to next year already! Everyone has been so welcoming and friendly. Many congratulations on a very successful concert and long may it continue.

The Davies Family

The AFYM played an absolutely integral part in my musical development; the performance experience and wise council that I received during my many years of attending the festival have been invaluable. Each year the AFYM team achieves a rare and wonderful feat creating an environment which strives for the highest artistic standards but in a warm and nurturing way.

Anne Denholm





Know who you want to talk to? Email one of the committee direct:

CarlJohnson@AFYM.org.uk |  DavidWorkman@AFYM.org.uk  |  DianeWorkman@AFYM.org.uk  | PennyDavies@AFYM.org.uk  | LilianMorgan@AFYM.org.uk  | MargaretDenholm@AFYM.org.uk  | AnnBrown@AFYM.org.uk  | SoniaGittoes@AFYM.org.uk  | PhyllBarclay@afym.org.uk  | CarolineJohnson@afym.org.uk  | Admin@AFYM.org.uk

Otherwise, fill out the contact form below.