Aarhus Vocal Festival

Competition Rules

Updated April 2017

The rules can be subject to changes acoording to the board of the festival.

Welcome to the AAVF Competition! This is a competition designed with several goals:

1. Entertain the audience.
2. Through a healthy, respectful, yet playfully competitive spirit, inspire groups to achieve new heights of artistry, technical excellence and creativity.


Any choir or group can apply to participate. There are two categories:

1. Vocal groups

2. Choirs

Each category consists of a maximum of 6 competitors selected by The AAVF Competition Committee on the basis of the received material. The Committee decides exclusively whether a competitor belongs to category 1 or 2. The decisions cannot be contested.



Each contestant must acquire an AAVF festival pass in order to enter the competition. The festival pass should be purchased prior to the deadline announced on the website www.aavf.dk


Only the application form found on this website can be used and must be filled out correctly.

Find it here.


We’ll evaluate your materials and email you back to let you know if your group is accepted. Deadline for this response will be announced on the website.


Your participation will be confirmed after everyone in your group has purchased the AAVF festival passes. One person can purchase the AAVF festival passes for everyone in their group, or each person can purchase their own. But remember: Your group’s spot is NOT confirmed until everyone purchases their AAVF passes. If you don’t purchase right away, other groups may be accepted, leaving fewer spots than accepted groups. If other accepted groups purchase passes first, your group may be shut out of a spot. So once you receive your emailed ACCEPTANCE, purchase right away to CONFIRM your spot.

If a choir/group cancels its appearance of its own accord, it will have no right to a refund. Further details about the application can be found on the website.


Travel is to be organized by the participating choirs/groups themselves, and travel costs are also to be borne by the participants.

By applying to participate in the AAVF Competition, the contestants agree upon the rules and conditions as mentioned above.


Any group, of (almost) any size, style or composition may enter this contest. Performers may compete in more than one group. Groups will be pre-screened by the producers of AAVF.


Choirs may have a director conduct from on, or off-stage, if they desire. Conductors may also speak in between songs if they wish, and they may sing or otherwise contribute musically. To have a conductor on stage or not is the decision of the choir, and judges will not let their personal view on the use of conductors in general weigh in on their ruling. It is neither a plus nor a minus to use a conductor in this competition.


Groups may be of any size, from a minimum of just 1 person, up to a maximum limited only by the reasonable restrictions of the performance space as determined by the AAVF producers. As a guideline, most stages can accommodate a choir of 80. If you wish to bring a group of 50 or more, contact the producers and your group will be accommodated.


Compulsory piece: Immediately after being selected to the competitions the participants will receive a compulsory piece consisting of a melody with lyrics and chords. The melody has to be arranged in order to fit the choir/group. It is allowed to use a professional arranger from outside the choir/group.

Besides the performance of the compulsory piece the groups are asked to performa a free program of their choice.


Groups shall perform for 15 minutes or less.

Timing shall begin with the first deliberate sung or spoken utterance, choreography or blowing of a pitch and shall run continuously through applause and performance until the last deliberate sung or spoken utterance, choreography or blowing of a pitch.

Technical difficulties causing delays will be credited to the performers so that the group receives their originally allotted time.

Groups may use their time to perform as many or as few songs as they wish, but must perform the compulsory piece.

Groups shall not be penalized for ending on time or under time.

Groups may be penalized for going over their allotted time, at the discretion of the judges. The judges will not consider any music sung after the 15 minute mark.

Groups are advised to plan time for brief applause after each song.


All competing groups will receive the order in which they are performing on site on the day of performance.

Performance order will be determined at the sole discretion of the producers who may take into account any number of factors in programming including last minute travel emergencies, technical set up requirements and creating an enjoyable and entertaining program order from an objective audience perspective.


Judging shall be accomplished by a panel of qualified judges with appropriate training and experience in vocal music.
Each judge shall rate each group in terms of its musicality, originality and overall impact.

Producers shall inform judges of all awards in advance and each judge shall choose one group for each award. The group winning the majority of the judges’ votes shall be declared the winner of that award. In the event of a tie, the Head Judge shall have a tie- breaking vote. Typically the awards could be as follows – monetary awards:

1st Place: DKK 20,000

2nd Place: DKK 10,0003

rd Place: DKK 5,000

If any award considers a group of competitors who do not all appear before the exact same panel of judges, (such as competitors on different days or in different categories) then all judges shall advise the Head Judge regarding only the groups they have judged, but the Head Judge shall determine the winner. Typically the awards which are so determined are as follows:

Most Innovative Performance Most Innovative Arrangement

If a tie shall result, the producer or producer’s nominee (typically, the Head Judge) shall resolve the issue by exercising a tie-breaking vote.

All performances must be vocal-oriented, but instruments, percussion and technology such as looping or octavizers of any kind are permitted. Pre-recorded vocal tracks are not allowed. In case of in-ear monitoring cue-tracks are not allowed, however click-track without pitch is allowed.


Each judge may comment publicly on the performing groups. These comments may be positive or negative but they should always be constructive. The comments reflect only the opinions of the individual judge making the comments and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of any other entity including AAVF or its producers, affiliates agents, volunteers, staff, etc.


One month before the competition, groups will supply the producers with set lists indicating:

1) Title of the pieces
2) Composers
3) Arrangers
4) Soloists
5) Vocal Percussionists
6) Whether the piece is an original song or arrangement
7) Contact information including email and phone
8) Scores for music performed. The scores must be in PDF format. In case of improvised music contact the producers.

Competitors are asked to make a table of contents on each individual score including points 1) – 6).

The AAVF producers will distribute copies to the members of the jury.


After the completion of each performance, the judges shall make notes regarding the group. After the last group performs, the judges will confer with one another privately and each shall exercise one vote towards each award. The competitor with the most votes shall be declared the winner following the conclusion of the judging, typically at an Award Ceremony later that same evening.

Competing groups are expected to attend the Award Ceremonies on both nights. At each ceremony, a single representative from each group that performed that day will be asked to come on stage. The group winning 1st place that day will be asked to perform again at the award ceremony. The winning group may perform a set of 15-20 min minutes with songs from their competition repertoire and other songs from their repertoire. There will be a short sound check before the winner’s concert.

At the Award Ceremony, awards for most innovative arrangement and most innovative performance (or similar awards) may be given to competitors from any of the competitions from any of the days. A representative from every competing group from both days must be available to receive the award when announced.

The judges are not obligated to share their notes with competitors, however they are encouraged to do so. For shared notes, judges are encouraged to be constructive in their comments to the participants, however they are also encouraged to be direct and honest.


The use of microphones and accompaniment (a max. of 4 musicians) is allowed. The following equipment is at the participant’s disposal:

A professional sound engineer
20 microphones (wired)
6 wireless microphones
PA system including mixer console and monitors Digital piano
Electric Piano
Guitar amplifier
Bas amplifier
Drum Set + percussion

The participants are allowed to use own sound engineer and to bring musical instruments not described above.

Groups may perform on mic or off mic at their discretion.

Requests regarding mixing and effects made to the sound engineer will be honored where possible, including the request to enhance bass, vocal percussion, leads or to “use your best judgment”. In the absence of any contrary instructions, the engineer will be instructed to provide microphone responses of approximately equal volume and NOT to do any mixing which would affect the balance of parts during the show.

A short sound check is guaranteed for each competitor.

Like performance order, sound check order will be determined by the Producers at their sole discretion.


AAVF will provide a light engineer for the sound check and the performance. It will not be possible to send a light rider in advance. The light setting will be standard. It will not be possible to use a projector for visuals etc. in the performance.


Judges must disclose to AAVF producers in advance, any potential conflicts of interest, which could be reasonably perceived as projecting even the appearance of impropriety.

The following shall not be considered conflicts:
Judge is affiliated with the same school as a competitor.
Judge has arranged or composed material for competitor, even if for a fee.
Judge is friends with a competitor.
If a competitor believes that a genuine conflict of interest exists, the competitor must make a producer aware of the conflict IN WRITING, on behalf of their ENTIRE GROUP and PRIOR to the event. Anyone participating in the event is deemed to have waived any and all claims or complaints based on conflict of interest if they fail to abide by the complete terms of this agreement.


All participants agree to abide by the highest ethical standards and not to publicly criticize the event judges, producers, staff, decisions or rules of this competition, but instead to direct any statements to the AAVF producers in private correspondence.


At the discretion of the producers, groups may sell merchandise. Please notify the producers if your group wishes to sell merchandise. Groups are solely responsible for any taxes or other fees which may be applicable to their sales. AAVF may sell merchandise for groups, but they do so without liability.


Any open issues, vague or confusing terms, or disagreements of any kind relating to this competition shall be resolved by the AAVF producers in their sole discretion and their determination shall be final and binding on all persons.


By performing and competing, and by accepting the benefits of publicity derived from appearing in the event, which all parties agree is of value, and by accepting any awards, if any, all participants agree to abide by these rules and that the producer has the following rights in addition to any others which it may have, world wide and without any payment to group or members:

The producer and their agents or affiliates may use the name, story, recorded performance and likeness of any group or any of its members or directors or other supporting persons to promote AAVF generally, to promote vocal or a cappella or charity events, or to promote any of our programs or materials.

The producer may record in analog or digital video, photograph, audio or by any other means, the group and/or its members and support persons for archival, promotional or distribution purposes, whether digital or analog.

Participants and members of the audience are allowed to record in analog or digital video as long as the stage manager asses that it is not disturbing the performance.

All participants agree to hold the producers harmless and indemnify them from any and all claims which may arise in connection with their participation in any of producers’ events, including but not limited to personal injury, intentional infliction of emotional distress, copyright infringement, trademark infringement, slander and libel.

Any portion of this contract which is deemed by a court of competent jurisdiction not to be in compliance with the law shall be modified to the smallest degree necessary to be in legal compliance and all other sections of this agreement shall not be affected thereby.

In the event that this contract is deemed to allow damages to a prevailing plaintiff, these damages shall be limited to a maximum amount equal to the entry fees paid by the competitor/participant.