Revised version per 2012

Appointed in the General Assembly 27 May 2011  


Over the course of 25 years, EMU and its member associations have built up an enormous amount of experience in organising a Youth Music Festival. So far this experience was mainly passed on during more or less brief encounters that the last organising member country had with the one responsible for the next Festival.With these Minimum Requirements and Recommendations EMU seeks to compose a catalogue that will develop in the years to come and that will record in outline all the crucial knowledge gathered in the process of organising Festivals.
In this way a useful memory bank will accumulate that can only tempt more countries to start imagining what a Festival in their own country could be like.

But there is more to it than that: a member association that says ‘yes’ to the positive challenge of preparing a Festival also takes upon itself a big responsibility, not only towards itself but also towards the other members and their pupils and teachers. We have to be clear about the fact that organising these wonderful Festivals not only brings a lot of opportunities, but also brings the organiser many pains: personal hardship and financial worries that have to be taken care of. For their part, the participating groups have enjoyed very good experiences these past 15 years, and therefore tend to have concrete expectations as to what they will find abroad, which cannot easily be disappointed.

With this document, EMU hopes to provide its members with a useful guideline.
As mentioned before, there are Minimum Requirements that every organising member has to meet and cannot dismiss. These are formulated in section A). Section B offers merely useful suggestions, which EMU would appreciate seeing its organising members fulfil.


1.            Procedures for applying for a festival

1.1.            If a member association responds positively to the invitation of the Presidium to apply for the organisation of a European Youth Music Festival, it should present letters from the local and national governments showing their general interest.

1.2.            Within 4 months after the decision of the General Assembly to award a Festival to a specific member association, this association should submit to the Presidium a budget proposal in which 2/3 of the costs are (securely) covered by support from local authorities, national governments and other funding sources.

1.3            At least two years before the Festival takes place, a sponsoring plan as well as a plan for organisational infrastructure has to be offered to the EMU Presidium for advice.

1.4            Organising Associations are recommended to create or to join a special legal body for organising the Festival in order to prevent financial risks from threatening the association(s).

2.            Location

2.1.            The festival should take place in cities or regions that can offer enough accommodation and venues for the concerts. The cities must be situated close to each other.

2.2            Accommodation for pupils should always be indoors, in order to prevent weather risks from playing too large a part during the Festival.

3.            General aspects of the budget

3.1.            Contributions from the participants and subsidies from the different governments and/or other sources should cover at least 90% of the costs.

3.2.            The contribution of the participants will be fixed for every Festival by the General Assembly

(95 Euros per 2012) and should cover all costs concerning food (enough and varied food 3 times a day including at least one hot meal, everything according to existing national or local traditions) and lodging (a mattress should be available).

3.3.            Regarding sponsors, the organising committee must always ask the EMU Presidium for permission; the organising committee must not connect any specific sponsors to specific participating groups.

3.4.            There should be at least 5000 participants (of which a maximum of 25% comes from the host country). Under certain circumstances it may be possible to have a reduced number of participants. This should be proposed to the EMU presidium beforehand, which will then make the final decision.

4.            Participation and Registration

4.1.            There will be a first and a second registration round. The provisional registration should be completed 1 year before the festival. The final registration should be completed 6 months before the festival.

The number of participants per country will be based on the total number of students younger than 25 per EMU member association.

4.2.            The organising committee will send all EMU associations announcements and/or brochures by email and/or regular mail. National associations will see to forwarding the announcements/brochures to their member schools.

Applications should be returned through the national associations, which also finally decide which applicants can participate in case there are too many applications.

4.3.            The age of the participating musicians must be between 12 and 25 years.

4.4.            Only groups can participate.

4.5.            Each group must have at least 1 accompanying adult per 10 young musicians.

4.6.            A maximum of 5 accompanying adults per group can be registered. The other adults must organise their own stay.

4.7.            The registration forms must be clear and must gather detailed information concerning the type of group and their demands for the performance area.

4.8.            The presidium of EMU should be able to attend the whole festival as a guest.

4.9            Only schools that are member of a national association that is member of EMU can participate in the Festivals and all applications have to go through these associations; Festival organisers must request the EMU presidium to admit schools from countries that have no national association that is member of EMU.

4.10            In order to include the whole country, EMU advises the host country to organise a pre-festival some days before the main festival.

5.            Insurance

5.1.            Participants and accompanying adults must have a valid travel and health insurance during the (pre-) festival.

5.2.            The Festival organisation must take out a general liability insurance for e.g. the stages and all equipment during the entire Festival period.

5.3.            Insure all the involved staff and volunteers against damages.

6.            Transport

6.1.            Groups must organise their own transport to and from the festival.

6.2.            Though the Festival organisation can help with information, the groups should organise their own transport during the Festival.

6.3.            A hostess should be present at the airport and the railway station.

7.            Performance

7.1            Groups must bring their own music instruments (exceptions are e.g. piano and big percussion instruments). The music instruments must be listed on a so-called Ata Carnet form for transport abroad if the group leaves an EU-country.

7.2.            At least three performances for each participating group.

7.3.            Each group should play in different areas.

7.4.            The performances plan, including required stage information, should be completed at least 3 months before the festival.

8.            Mandatory components of the programme:

8.1.            Pre-festival.

8.2.            Opening ceremony with all the participants.

8.3.            Closing ceremony with all the participants.

8.4            Concerts during Festivals should take place outdoors and/or at indoor locations that have a natural flow of public of their own; furthermore concerts should be organised in such a way that part of the audience are other pupils that played just before or immediately afterwards

9.            Information and promotion

9.1.            Plan an information strategy for when to send and receive information from groups.

9.2.            After the final registration, all communication should pass between the Festival organisation and the contact person of the groups.

9.3.            Give the contact persons of the groups enough time to meet the deadline.

9.4.            Always send a copy of all group information to the national associations as well.

9.5.            The participants must be informed well in advance where to get information during the Festival. Parents want to stay in touch.

9.6.            Hand out maps of the city and the Festival area.

9.7.            Produce many Festival concert programmes and a day programme for each stage (poster format).

9.8.            EMU’s logo should be presented on the main brochures of the Festival and its name should be mentioned during the main activities.

9.9.            In all publications, media and PR, EMU should be mentioned as patron organisation of the Festival.

10.            Organisation

10.1.            The festival organisation should have a detailed organisation chart with the names and telephone numbers of the staff; direct communication is most efficient.

11.            Evaluation

11.1.            The Festival organisation must send an evaluation form to all the national associations.

11.2.            This evaluation form must be sent out to every participating music school by the national association.

11.3.            Each national association collects the evaluations, so that they can also offer general remarks. The complete results should be returned to the Festival organisation.

11.4.            The evaluation results will be presented to the Presidium of EMU within 6 months after the closing of the Festival.

12.            The role of EMU

12.1            EMU’s role regarding the Festivals will be one of Patron Organisation, and on account of this role there will not only be an EMU-check on organisation and financing during the first phases of organising a Festival, but also on main lines during the years after that, up to and including some months before the Festival; this also means that all major changes to the original plans for the Festival have to be reported to EMU.

12.2            The EMU Presidium can relieve Festival organisers from applying one or more of the rules of the Minimum requirements.


Invite local and national politicians from the organising country and politicians from the countries of the participating music schools.

Bring the teachers together that accompany the students (a common drink, small congress etc.).

Arrange official meeting points for festival guests, for instance in market squares.

Encourage countries to make themselves visible as a specific country (e.g. through T-shirts).

Lodging can take place in a convenient and agreeable way in festival villages where different nationalities and music styles come together, can eat, drink and make music together. (See to it that during the nights there is always someone present from the organising committee).

Ask the member associations to encourage member schools to have all music styles represented (so also rock, musical theatre and world music), or to see to it that the national selection contains all kinds of music styles.

As to the payment: a deadline of payment around New Year may cause accountancy problems for the groups; suggest groups to use international banking’s “Swift code”; avoid advance payment of souvenirs; offer a festival fee insurance.

Ensure that audience is present at every Festival’s performance by finding good locations, by clear route maps to all venues, and by effective marketing.

Volunteers can be numerous and should then be well organised. Organise a general information meeting for all volunteers well in advance of the festival.