Newbury Spring Festival


Become a Young Festival Critic

See a performance, write a short review
 and you could win £100!


We are looking for reviewers to cover events from our programme of world-class music staged in some amazing venues around Berkshire.


Becoming a Festival Critic is a great way to indulge your love of live music, hone your writing skills and enhance your CV or university application.


If you’re between the ages of 15 to 25, see a performance and then write a short review telling us what you thought of it, you could win a cash prize.


£100 first prize with two runner up prizes of £50.

Tickets for Festival events are FREE for 15* to 25 year olds.

You can book yours by calling the box office on
0845 5218 218
 or in person at the Corn Exchange, Newbury RG14 5BD.


*If you are age 15 you will need to book two free tickets as you must be accompanied by someone aged 18 or over (they do not have to fall in the age category 18-25).


Tickets are limited to one per person, per event and are subject to availability. Proof of age is required when tickets are collected. Please note: these tickets can’t be posted to you.

If you book your tickets over the phone you will be charged a £1 booking fee.
Calls cost 2p per minute plus your telephone company’s Access Charge.


Your review will be judged by a panel of professional judges
from the media and music world and will be posted on the Festival website. It needs to be approximately 250 words.


This year’s judges are:

Jessica Isaacs - Head of Production, BBC Radio 3

Kate Green – Deputy Editor, Country Life

Trish Lee – Arts Editor, Newbury Weekly News

Rebecca Johns – Albion Media


You can download a comprehensive guide to writing a review here


Please send your reviews to no later than 48 hours after the performance.  We’re looking forward to reading them.


‘I have never experienced a show like this before but, I am now a true believer that opportunities like this are a once in a lifetime and would advise anyone with a chance to be part of it to get involved.’ Mark, 23



Edward Seckerson, journalist and broadcaster, whose work as a critic has included Chief Classical Music Critic for The Independent, Chief Classical Music Critic for The Sunday Correspondent and Classical Music Critic for The Guardian, describes the art of criticism:

‘Criticism is still so misunderstood. Is it good or bad, the best or the worst, we critics are asked - and no matter how many times we care to explain that things are rarely black or white and it's the shades of grey in between that make something interesting or not the most sensational quotes will always make their way on to the hoardings and the well written, well balanced, review will more as not be put to one side.


For me the opinion has always mattered less than the way in which it is expressed and in an age where the most outspoken among us don't always feel it is necessary to substantiate their views in any thoughtful, meaningful, way it's great that schemes like Newbury's Young Festival Critics are giving a platform to budding young arts enthusiasts with something to say. 


Sharing the experience of a play, a film, a concert, or piece of art or literature is what it is all about. The best critics make us feel part of that experience whether or not we were there ourselves. I like to think that doing so is an art in itself.’


2017 Reviews
2016 Reviews
2015 Reviews
2014 Reviews
2013 Reviews
2012 Reviews

This scheme would not be possible without the generous support of Greenham Trust.