Enter Entries Closed

2024 Freemasons Festival of Schools Instrumental Music dates: Saturday 07 - Thursday 12 September

Venue: Founders Hall, Caro Convention Centre, Federation University, University Drive, Mt Helen

We have partnered with Stardom eisteddfod management system for entries and event management. Song titles, music files can all be uploaded in preparation for the event.

A Stardom account is required to enter.

Music Scores

As per the Competition Rules, all music should be handed in at registration on the day.

Freemasons Festival of Schools Instrumental Music

Every year young musicians from schools around Victoria converge on Ballarat for the Royal South Street Society Ballarat Eisteddfod’s Freemasons Festival of Schools Instrumental Music. Entrants can now perform in both competitive and non-competitive sections that provide constructive feedback and on-stage workshops. 

The lively NEW program runs for over a week in September and offers a unique chance for personal and team musical feedback, growth and improvement.

Instrumental Solos

Instrumental solos express the emotions of a piece of music through instruments performed by an individual.

By performing at Royal South Street Society Ballarat Eisteddfod competitors gain exposure to some of the country’s best adjudicators and meet other fine musicians in a supportive environment. 

The Festival of Schools Instrumental Music program includes under 12 years through to under 19 years sections, VCE/VET, novice, junior, senior and advanced sections across most performance categories. 



The Bands section now includes both stage and concert band sections featuring the prestigious Petera Clamp Prize for Premier Grade Concert Bands. Other performance categories include jazz/rock/funk bands, percussion ensembles, and a suite of VCE ensemble sections.

Proudly supported by Freemasons Foundation Victoria.

Proudly supported by

NEW Non-Competitive Critique Only 

Based on feedback we have introduced new sections to our Instrumental, Choral, Vocal and Pianoforte disciplines! We know that young musicians want and need the opportunity to perform on stage in their group or ensemble and receive constructive feedback. So, we have introduced new sections to offer this experience to performers. These sections will be managed in such a way that participants will be able to listen and learn from other groups' feedback as well as their own. The groups will also have the opportunity to workshop the feedback on the stage with the adjudicator.

Benefits Of Participation in Non-Competitive Sections

The non-competitive sections provide the following opportunities for schools, students and teachers:

  • A performance goal for ensembles.
  • The opportunity to see and hear other performers - learn from your feedback as well as others!
  • Comments from experienced professional adjudicators
  • A personalised photo certificate will be presented to each performer within two weeks of the event.
  • Peformance opportunity at an industry venue
Festival Of Bands New Sections
Festival Of Bands New Section Details


Peter Zala Deputy Chairman

Peter Zala devotes over 40 years to Royal South Street Society

Carolyn Bennett

Radio Interview on 3BA with our Development & Volunteer Coordinator Carolyn Bennett

2024 Entries Open On 1st March

Entries Open on 01 March

ENews Images Jan Are You Ready To Shine In 2024

Alumni – Past Competitors


Learn more about the Festival of Schools Instrumental Music discipline from our collection of stories, historical records and media....

John Stapp

John Stapp

Kate Williams

125 Logo Designer shares a three generation history with South Street


Explore our history timeline

Music and the inclusion of our schools' program has been an important part of the Eisteddfod for a very long time....


The Highland Pipe Band contest is introduced as part of the competitions while the Factory Choral competition attracts entries from Ballarat and Geelong as businesses vie for musical honours. Bernard Heinze wins the under 13 and 15 violin solos and after studying at the Royal College of Music, returns in 1923 as a South Street adjudicator. Knighted in 1949, his career as a conductor, professor of music, music advisor to the ABC, and trustee of the Sydney Opera House saw Heinze rise to become one of the dominant musical figures in Australia.


New Schools Instrumental and Electronic Organ sections are introduced to the competitions.


South Street moves to the Civic Hall while restoration work is undertaken on the theatre and two new items are introduced to the competitions – the Geoff Smith Memorial Jazz Ensemble and the Choral, Courier Junior Secondary Choirs.

The Australian Elizabethan Trust donates $13,000 to support the Band Contest and help set up Civic Hall in readiness for the Eisteddfod.

2016 – Mi Sound

To celebrate our 125th anniversary, Royal South Street introduced Mi Sound as a new competition category.

Mi Sound has been designed for those studying VCE-VET Music Industry Skills programs and provides a genuine industry experience and opportunity to perform in a live venue, with feedback from well-known industry adjudicators.

The inaugral event was sponsored by Ballarat Region Tourism and held between September 5th-7th at the Miner’s Tavern. The intention was for this to become a permanent part of Royal South Street’s annual Eisteddfod program.


New sections were added to the Freemasons Victoria Festival of Schools Music, Bands and Instrumental discipline.

Set to be held between September 7-12 at Caro Convention Centre – new Jazz/Rock combo sections, VCE/VET, and non-competitive critique only sections!! Plus, all other sections from under 12 years to under 19 years!