The curtain came down on the Manx Music Festival once again last week.

The event, also known as the ‘The Guild’, consisted of eight packed with competitions in music, speech, drama and dance.

Held every year in April at the Villa Marina, generations of children on the Isle of Man taken part in the 132 year-old festival.

To mark its return, we took to the streets to ask people for their memories of the contest.

Rebecca Harding, from Port Erin, couldn’t contain her excitement when talking to us about The Guild.

She said: ‘I love The Guild, I think it’s the epitome of being Manx!

Memories of the Guild - Rebecca Harding (Port Erin)
Memories of the Guild - Rebecca Harding (Port Erin) (Media Isle of Man / Dave Kneale)

‘My daughter is in the spoken word, it’s a bit of a family tradition.

‘My husband was in it all the years, I went in it all the years, and now she’s representing!

‘I did speech and drama, I’ve won the cup, and I’ve told my daughter that if she wins she can find my name.

‘I’ve heard the prize money has increased dramatically, I won three one pound notes, where I’ve been told you can win £50 now!

‘Again, I just love The Guild!’

Lesley Skinner, from Douglas and Angela Fleming, from Ramsey, both believe the festival is great for young people’s confidence.

Lesley’s husband takes part every year.

She said: ‘My husband, in his class, came first with Manx Concert Brass this year!

Memories of the Guild - Angela Fleming (Ramsey) and Lesley Skinner (Douglas)
Memories of the Guild - Angela Fleming (Ramsey) and Lesley Skinner (Douglas) (Media Isle of Man / Dave Kneale)

‘He takes part every year and I watch him.

‘I think it’s important, it builds up confidence and encourages them to speak out more.’

Angela added: ‘It’s a while since I was at school but it’s a positive thing and gives the change for kids to be more confident.’

Derek Ferguson, from Ballasalla, said that while he’s never entered The Guild, his grandson has and believes it’s vital that it continues.

He said: ‘It’s a way of keeping the Manx culture going, and it’s a good opportunity for young people to put themselves out there and do something that’s difficult for a lot of them.

‘My grandson Lucas struggles and to do what he did and stand up there in front of all of those people and read out the poem was a big moment.

‘I was so proud, my heart was banging. For him to do it was extraordinary.’

Memories of the Guild - Derek Ferguson (Ballasalla)
Memories of the Guild - Derek Ferguson (Ballasalla) (Media Isle of Man / Dave Kneale)

Alexandra Rotheroe, from Laxey, has entered a lot of categories and says The Guild played a part in shaping her life.

She said: ‘I did the violin, piano, ensemble, sight reading, the harp, absolutely loads!

‘I enjoyed it, I was forced initially but it was great.

‘I won too, I don’t know what the title was but I won a big plate.

‘I got money too as I bought a new violin bow.

‘I think The Guild gives a valuable experience and definitely helps with your confidence.

‘I think it’s worth having a shot and there’s nothing to lose from it, even if you don’t win you have a lot to gain from the experience.

‘It’s very worthwhile.

‘I don’t remember any year whilst growing up on the island that I wasn’t working towards performing at The Guild.’