The IVCF cycles between the capital cities in which there are AICSA members. This schedule generally follows the same cycle, though changes can occur. The festival schedule is formally set at the annual Australian Intervarsity Choral Council (AIVCC) meetings (usually held at the festivals).
The festivals are held every 12-18 months, usually during January or July. The current festival schedule is shown below:
Every year choristers from around Australia (and on occaision returning from overseas) come together in one of the capital cities for the long-awaited two weeks of the IVCF, most commonly referred to fondly as 'IV'.
Over a day or two some 100-200 choristers descend on the city by bike, plane, train, boat, van and car and head straight to the camp. The camp lasts for the first week of the festival and involves day-long rehearsals bringing everyone rapidly up to date with the music for the concerts in the second week. Alongside the rehearsal schedule come the social activities such as the Presidents' Pajamas, The Revue, Sculling and pub nights - see below for further details on these events.
When camp is over the IV moves to the city, pushing the billeting capacity of the local choirs to the limit. The second week of IV sees more rehearsals, and also the major concerts of the festival - often involving the local state orchestra and accomplished soloists. The social activities in the second week include the Academic Dinner, the Post-concert parties (PCP's) and the Recovery Barbecue. At the dinner speeches are made and the trophies for the Sculling (and other events) are presented. At the Recovery Barbecue people say their goodbyes until the next time and head back off home.
Being part of an IVCF is generally held to be a fantastic experience to be repeated time and time again, indeed there are many participants in IV's who are no longer attending their local choir but who still return once a year to be part of the AICSA community.
There are many traditional IV activities which have grown over the years - below is a description of some of the more prominent traditions.
The Sculling at an IVCF is the only choir vs. choir activity in the AICSA movement, and subsequently has a tendency to be treated very seriously. Sculling dominates on the the evenings at camp, at which time several long-tables are prepared, pots hired and beer jugs filled. There are a number of standard sculling events - as listed below.
In a communityt such as the AICSA movement there needs to be a release point for individuals creativity and The Revue is just the release.
The main Revue is held at the IVCF camp (though individual choirs' rehearsal camps frequently feature a Revue) and is a staging of individual and small group talents, both musical and non-musical. The acts cover a broad spectrum, ranging across musical performance/composition/song-writing, to the display of skewed humours, re-enacting notorious events choraldom and any other activity which a chorister has volunteered to perform.
The Academic Dinner is usually held in a local grandiose venue with fine food and drink to acocmpany. The dinner is both a great social evening, but also hosts the official presentation of the Sculling Trophies and other awards for the IV. There are also several speeches that are standardly given at the dinner, each speech followed by a toast and the dinner participants standing and singing a standard song which is known by each of the choirs in AICSA.
The Presidents' Pajamas
The Pressies PJ's have but one purpose, and that is to offer the opportunity to riducule, laugh and throw things at the Presidents of each choir and their designated Seconds. Additionally, everuy choir has a set of "President's Pajamas" which are brought to each IV - these are diligently soaked in some noxious material before being presented to the presidents to wear for the durations of the event.
Each year a narrator is nominated to organise the event. During the Pressies' PJs the narrator leads the presidents and their seconds through a series of 'challenges' and tasks, after which each participant is guaranteed to need a good shower...