Compass Music Festival

Years 3 to 12 students and teachers

The Compass Music Festival provides an opportunity for primary and secondary regional and rural students to perform in a local festival, enhancing local opportunities for NSW public school students to create music and express themselves. The model is based on state opportunities without the cost of long-distance travel and accommodation.

Compass is coming to Coffs Harbour and the Far South Coast in 2024.

    student singing

    The Arts Unit seeks regional and rural schools interested in managing and delivering a local music festival. This initiative is most suited to schools with teaching staff interested in building their capacity to manage and deliver large-scale arts programs with substantial support from the unit’s events teams.

    All Compass Music Festival repertoire and support materials are provided for this local event and are based on the repertoire for the Festival of Choral Music, Festival of Instrumental Music and In Concert choral performances. This allows schools to potentially be involved in both local and state performance opportunities.

    Both primary and secondary schools are involved in separate and combined festival choirs, recorder ensembles and string ensembles. A further extension is available through a wind orchestra, featured secondary choir, recorder consort or string ensemble. The Arts Unit provides substantial support and opportunities to build teacher capacity in large-scale arts program management through online professional learning for participating teachers, as well as local rehearsals in the lead-up to the festival.

    A small school participation fee is incurred for students/schools involved as performers. Where required, The Arts Unit may be able to provide an orchestra or ensemble to support local performers.

    The Arts Unit will provide successful schools with the following:

    • early access to the selected repertoire and supporting materials for the Compass Music Festival, based on the repertoire of the Festival of Choral Music, Festival of Instrumental Music and In Concert choral performances
    • tailored professional learning, administrative and creative support, both digital and face to face
    • a local cluster rehearsal prior to the event
    • some financial support, but with an expectation that participating schools will contribute to some of the costs, such as student participation fees and the payment of 1–2 casual relief days for organising teachers.


    Schools or groups of schools interested in hosting a Compass Music Festival should contact Lisa Van den Dolder, Arts Programs and Initiatives Coordinator, The Arts Unit – email:


    Lisa van den Dolder
    Arts Programs and Initiatives Coordinator
    The Arts Unit
    02 8512 1184
    Music Festivals
    The Arts Unit