Chichester Festival for Music, Dance and Speech back to normal for 2022

Alan Rodger, new chairman of the Chichester Festival for Music, Dance and Speech, has confirmed they are all systems go for a live 2022 festival.

Alan Rodger CFMDS Chairman
Alan Rodger CFMDS Chairman

Next year’s 67th festival will offer live performances at venues throughout Chichester and Bognor Regis.

“Running the festival in our normal live way was not possible in 2021, as total compliance with government rules and guidelines to ensure the safety of the entrants, our festival volunteers and the general public was an absolute imperative. Amazingly, we were able to have a virtual format where solo performers could upload a digital video of their performance and enjoy sharing the experience with us all via Zoom. We had many entries in all solo classes and our adjudicators were able to give live feedback to every performer on each section’s given date throughout February and March 2021. It was a great success.”

The Chichester Festival for Music, Dance and Speech was founded in 1954 by the Davies Oratorio Choir, to encourage and promote the performing arts for all ages, and especially for the young. The festival is affiliated to the British and International Federation of Festivals for Music, Dance and Speech of which the Queen is patron.

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    Alan confirmed the dance classes being held at the Bishop Luffa School from February 20-23 will be adjudicated by Jacquie Storey.

    “We are delighted that the festival’s dance class is now a nominated an All England Dance festival where candidates may qualify for the AED area finals by entering the ordinary classes offered at Chichester Festival for Music, Dance & Speech”

    The full CFMDS 2022 syllabus and online entry is now available at or a published booklet is available at Ackermans Music at 42 West Street, Chichester.

    “We are offering 460 different performing arts classes within speech, drama, classical guitars, adult & junior singing, dance, strings, woodwind, recorders, brass, pianoforte, choirs, orchestras, bands and percussion, at venues throughout Chichester and Bognor Regis from February through to March. Please encourage as many friends, family and pupils who are involved in the performing arts to enter one or more of the classes on offer. A live festival concert will take place at the Minerva Theatre on Saturday, March 19 celebrating outstanding performers from each section.”

    Alan became chairman after Jenie Pressdee stepped down after eight years in charge and 38 years of involvement. She said she would be stepping back entirely: “I just need a break.”

    But Jenie said she was delighted to be handing over to Alan: “He joined the committee two years ago and his input has been brilliant.

    “It has been a very good eight years, and we have had a lot of things happening in those eight years. The whole festival has changed. We have become more modern. We have moved into the 21st century and we have dealt with all the technology.

    “We have had to learn it. Most of the people on the committee are retired and we were not au fait with all the working online stuff. I was writing my reports by hand when I started, but we got the whole committee behind it and we finished last year with a virtual festival which lots of people said was nigh on impossible and which actually worked very well indeed. I am not saying that I would want to do it again because it was a very shaved-down festival. We couldn’t have any duets, for instance. We couldn’t have two people singing together. But we managed to do it despite all the ifs and buts. And I was quite surprised how many people came back and said thank you so much for doing this at a time when everybody was confined to their houses and just how much people appreciated having a reason to rehearse.”