Newbury Spring Festival

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Sign Up To Be a Critic

How To Be a Critic

Competition Prize

Edward Seckerson

Previous Critics Reviews

2016 Reviews
2015 Reviews
2014 Reviews
2013 Reviews
2012 Reviews

Be a Young Festival Critic! - Free tickets in return for a review!


The Newbury Spring Festival is looking for reviewers. Anyone between the ages of 15 and 30 with a passion for live music or journalism can come along to this year’s Festival.


It’s easy to be a Young Festival Critic - You choose the events to see, the Festival gives you free tickets, see the concert, then tell us what you thought. At the end of the Festival, professional judges from the media and music world will select 3 winners to be awarded cash prizes.

Join the Young Festival Critics today…We challenge you to try something new!


“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


“It is great that schemes like Newbury’s Young Festival Critics are giving a platform to budding young arts enthusiasts with something to say.” Edward Seckerson, Chief Classical Music Critic, The Independent


Sign Up


Register your interest or sign someone up by emailing their name, date of birth and email address to



2016 Judges were:


So far confirmed


Kate Green  Managing Editor Country Life Magazine
Simon Millward Director Albion Media
Trish Lee  Arts Editor Newbury Weekly News
James Richings Arts Editor The Observer
Jessica Issacs Editor BBC Radio 3

How to be a Critic


How to Critique – it’s easy…

  • You need to be between 15 and 30 years old
  • Select the events you would like to cover, come along, write a review and email it in to us.

The results

  • Your reviews will appear on the Newbury Spring Festival website and be judged by a professional panel
  • The three best written reviews (judges’ opinion) will win a cash prize! 2 runners up will review £50 each and the winning writer will get £100!


  • 48 hours to submit a review post production
  • Reviews written approximately 250 words. We will give you a reviewer’s pack with tips on how to write a review & formats
  • You need to be able to get to events and back by your own means
  • There is one free ticket available per event for each reviewer (unless negotiated with me first). However you can bring a friend for free to an event if they are between 15-30 years old and write a review too!

Young Festival Critics

is proud to be part of


What is a Critic?


Young Festival Critics is an exciting scheme enabling young people, who have a passion for the arts and writing to  explore new experiences while building their writing and CV skills.

We will ask the critics to focus on writing meaningful observations looking at the relationship between the performing arts and reviewing. The Festival offers a world class programme of events to cover. The scheme enables young people to not only experience new work, but also attend some of the Festivals amazing venues around Berkshire.

It's simple. Come to a Festival event and write a review of your experience.



Competiton Prizes


There are three prizes for the best an most well written reviews.

£100 top prize and 2 x £50 for the runners up.

Young Festival Critics

made possible by



Edward Seckerson

Chief Classical Music Critic, The Independent


"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."