The Kiwanis Club of St. John's had amongst its first members many who had an interest in music, and the prospect of a music festival attracted them. The vision and dedication of these people brought about the first festival and, with it, the foundation of the Music Festival Movement in this province. It has grown from a three day event with 193 entries and two adjudicators to a 12 day festival with over 3,000 entries, over 6,000 participants and 8 adjudicators. It is the largest festival in Eastern Canada.
Assistance in organizing the Music Festival was readily available from the National organization, the Federation of Canadian Music Festivals, which was formally constituted in 1949 and which meets annually. The founding Chairman of the St John's Festival Committee, Douglas Macpherson, attended the second Annual Conference of the Federation held in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1951 where he was warmly welcomed and membership in the Federation was approved for the St. John's Festival Association. Organizational expertise and experience from across Canada was of invaluable assistance to the developing festival.
The co-operation of the members of the Presentation and Mercy Orders of Religious Sisters in enthusiasm, in providing competition venues gratuitously and encouraging their students - solo performers, choirs, instrumental and choral ensembles - to participate was the catalyst which made the first festival a success.