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Marching Contest Etiquette

First time attendind a marching band contest or need a refresher before the season's first big competition?

Peruse the information below regarding what is appropriate for a marching band contest! 


Etiquette for Marching Band Contests

  1. Be supportive of each and every band. Be considerate during each band’s performance and show your appreciation for their hard work by your hearty applause at the end of every band’s performance as well as when they take the field for competition.

  2. No matter what your personal opinion of a particular performance, never say it out loud unless it is complimentary. Every band on the field is “somebody’s band”, and it may be the folks sitting next to or behind you. Give to the other participating bands the same respect and attention you hope they will give to your band.

  3. Refrain from conversation during the performances. Show respect for the bands and the spectators around you by not talking during a performance.

  4. Do not leave or return to your seat during a band’s performance. Wait until a performance has ended before moving about. You will only need to wait 15 minutes, at the most, before the next break. There is sufficient time between bands to move in and out of your seating area.

  5. Listen more than you talk, especially with boosters from other bands.

  6. Buy a program and familiarize yourself with how the event is being judged and scored. Be an “informed” spectator.



Each band performing at this event has their own story to tell. Some come from urban areas, some come from rural areas. Some come from large schools, others come from small schools. Some have overcome odds just to have a marching band in which to participate. Some may have experienced difficult setbacks, while others are experiencing their most positive marching season ever. Regardless of each band’s particular circumstances, every student who takes the field has made the choice to make music and art. As students, boosters and spectators, we each have a responsibility to recognize those efforts by simply being a “good audience”.


Types of Shows/Judging Formats


Caption-Style Judging

In a Caption Show, there is a specific judge that evaluates their specifically assigned part of the performance. The captions may include Music Performance, Music Effect, Visual Performance, Visual Effect, Field Conductor, Percussion, and Color Guard. 

Click Below for Judges Sheet.


Olympic-Style Judging

In an Olympic Show, there are five judges that evaluate all aspects of the band's music, visual, and general effect of the overall performance. The highest and lowest scores are dropped and the remaining three scores are averaged together for the band's final score. There are additionally judges for percussion, color guard and drum major.

Click Below for Judges Sheet.


Prelims-Finals Show

In a Prelim-Finals Show, the each band will perform during the preliminary round of competition. Then, depending on the competition a select number of band will be invited to perform a second time for the final placement of the competition. 

Olympic-Style Judging sheets are used for the evaluation process. The number of adjudicators may vary based on the competition.

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