For a number of years Matlock Bath held an Annual Musical
Festival in the early summer.
However, when they began in 1923, and for some years afterwards,
the festivals were held during September.
The village's second Musical Festival, in 1924, was held
at the Grand Pavilion, in the
Palais Royal and the Wesleyan
Chapel. There were 206 entries, with 22 choirs
and 22 quartette parties.
were presented with certificates and some were awarded prizes
or cups. The event, which was spread over three days, concluded
with evening concerts performed in the Grand Pavilion. These
performances were all of a high quality. Large crowds of
music lovers attended the very first Saturday programme in
1923 when the main event was to decide the choirs championships.
Among those taking part that year was Matlock Prize Choir
who won the "Key" Challenge Cup and first prize
in the mixed voice choir (local) section. They also won one
of the Venetian Fete Challenge Shields and
in 1924 they won all three shields, came second in another
category and Mr. A. S. Moreton (also a choir member) won
the open tenor solo.
Contestants of all ages were drawn from a wide area. In
1961 Woodlands School was well represented by its pupils
and they were joined by youngsters from Ashbourne's Methodist
Junior School on Church Street. One of the competitors in
1961 was Stuart Flint, then aged nineteen. Stuart sang second
bass in the Zion Male Voice Quartet which he had just joined;
the four young men were related. The group gave concerts
throughout Derbyshire and beyond and contested at the Music
Festival in Matlock Bath and probably at Selston. They also
helped fund-raise for charity. Louis Spencer was first tenor,
John Dickinson Senior was second tenor and Frank Land of
first bass. They began with a test piece "Down In Yon
Summer Vale" and went on to the hymn tune "Raichie" to
the words of "Who Is On The Lord's Side". This
last was probably chosen to please the adjudicators and it
clearly did so as they won their section with 192 points.
Second prize went to The Lea Harmony Quartet from Manchester,
a semi professional group, who scored 190 points; third prize
was awarded to The Gresley Quartet who were given 187 points.
Some years earlier,
in 1954, Anthony Gell's School Choir sang at the Musical
Festival under the baton of Gloria Hollingsworth (nee Wildgoose),
the school's Music and Sports Mistress. They sang "Rose
of England" and "Brother James' Air".
The organisers were all local and
post war Harry Boden, his wife Winifred, daughter Marian
and son Francis played a key role in running the event. In
1961 the Festival's officers were:
President : H. Boden, Esq.
Chairman : L Coun. P. F. George
Vice-Chairman : R. Turner, Esq.
Hon. Treasurer : L. R. Standen, Esq.
Hon. Secretary : Miss M. W. Boden
Hon Life Members: R. J. Jackson Esq.; T. W. Smith, Esq
There were 69 classes or categories in total that year,
1. Reading / Elocution
Open Bible Reading - divided into age groups
Open Choral Verse Speaking
Open Elocution, Boys or Girls, under 8 years
Open Elocution, Girls - divided into age
groups from under 10 to under 16 years
Open Elocution, Boys - divided into age
groups from under 10 to under 16 years
Open Elocution, Ladies or Gentlemen
Open Prose Reading, Ladies or Gentleman
Old Age Pension, Ladies, Male Voice and Mixed Voice
Choirs, Quartets, Operatic Soloists, Oratorio Soloists
and Pianoforte Solos and Duets from those aged under
11 and upwards
 A railway poster advertising
the Musical Festival, dated June 1932, is published in Julie
Bunting's book. The event ran for only two days at that time
and the railway company was offering excursion rates to the
event. See Bunting, Julie (2002) "Matlock
and Matlock Bath", Tempus Publishing Ltd., The
Mill, Brimscombe Port, Stroud, Gloucestershire, GL5 2QG 128pp.
220 illus. ISBN 0-7524-2455-6
 "Derby Daily Telegraph",
Monday 10 September 1923.
 "Derbyshire Times",
20 September 1924.
 When Mr. Mabbutt, Town Clerk
at Wirksworth, was part of the Quartet they had contested at
Music Festivals as far away as Morecambe and Blackpool. Stuart
was invited to join the Quartet when Mr. Mabbutt left the district;
he replaced him as second bass.
 Frank Land was the last General
Manager at Masson Mill before it closed as a Cotton Mill.
 From Jennifer Macgregor Brown (nee