Singers and musicians will be brushing up their skills this week as the 110th Swindon Music Festival gets underway.

The adjudicators, Gary Sieling, Caroline Clemmow and Yvonne Patrick are there to give help and feedback so there is no TV talent show-style judging at the festival, but the event has still been a stepping stone for many up and coming Swindon musicians.

The film star Diana Fluck, better known as Diana Dors, competed in the recitation class in 1938, Jamie Cullum, the jazz superstar, competed in 1988 and 1989 and Sarah Covey, who was the supreme champion in 2006 and 2008, went on to star in the West End musical We Will Rock You.

More recently soprano Matilda Wale, who took home last year's Senior Vocalist Championship cup and was Junior Vocal Champion in 2015, was on the Wyvern Theatre stage earlier this spring, singing as part of the Schubert-inspired Swindon Recital Series.

The festival begins at Christ Church, in Old Town, before moving to the Arts Centre, in Devizes Road, running from Friday, March 22 to Saturday, March 30. It is affiliated to the British and International Federation of Festivals

It was set up in 1909 as a one-night choir festival at the Mechanics Institute. It was the brainchild of R G Cripps, who wanted to launch a festival in his home town after enjoying an eisteddfod.

Classes include entries from choirs, vocal solos, duets, groups, piano, strings, woodwind, guitar, ensembles, brass, keyboard, church organ and harp. The adjudicators this year are organist, pianist, harpsichord player and teacher Gary Sieling, pianist Caroline Clemmow and opera singer Yvonne Patrick.

Geoff Walters, chairman of the festival for the last 17 years, said: “We are also fortunate to have Paul Turner as our accompanist, few festivals have such a distinguished, professional musician.’’

Geoff's own grandfather, Reginald Choules, helped to found the original festival. His parents were committee members, and his father, a chorister and choir conductor, chaired the festival in the 1980s.

His mother, like Geoff, was an accomplished pianist, and played for many drama and music groups.

He said: "I must stress how privileged we are in Swindon to enjoy the quality of music to which we have become accustomed. Thanks must go to the many excellent teachers, both private and in schools who develop and encourage the amazing musical talent, vocal and instrumental that we are fortunate to have in this area.''

Along with daily classes there are the three championship events.

Entry to the festival for people who simply want to listen is available for as little as £2, and people can becoming Friends of the Festival. For more details visit - Flicky Harrison