Marching Band Contest Etiquette

One of the most important parts of a marching band competition is the audience. It is very disappointing for band members who spend weeks and months preparing a show to walk into a large stadium and find that the seats are empty. There are many types of spectators at a band show and they have many different reasons for coming to the show. However, they all have one thing in common and that is that they should be allowed to enjoy the experience.

Things you should do at a marching band competition.

  • Support all bands. Regardless of which band is on the field you should applaud or even cheer when they do a good job. Reaction from the crowd will encourage the band to perform better and will result in a more enjoyable show for the audience.
  • Watch the whole show. Observe different elements of the bands performance. Your interest may be percussion but, you might be surprised with the work the color-guard is doing. Often, several things are going on at once in a show. If you watch a show several times you may see something new on each occasion.
  • Show up early. This is especially true for supporters of larger class bands. Many smaller class bands have great shows. Arrive early at the next show and see what you have been missing.
  • Buy something from the concession stand. In many cases a band competition may be the major source of a band programs yearly budget. They have made a large investment and would appreciate your support. In most cases you will find that the prices are much less than what you will pay at your local movie theater.

Things that you should avoid.

  • Do not distract other spectators. It is important to realize that although it is fun to visit with family and friends during a contest, it is unfair to distract other spectators from enjoying the show. This is true at any performance, including a marching band performance. Be respectful of all other spectators and hopefully they will extend you the same courtesy.
  • Do not leave or enter the stadium while a band is performing. Try to avoid any unnecessary movement, especially while a band is performing. At most contest the time for each band is fifteen minutes. Each show last around 7 to 9 minutes so that gives you plenty of time between bands to leave the seating area for concessions or to enter the stadium.
  • Do not talk on your cell phone. Turn off your cell phone or set it to vibrate. If someone calls you on your cell phone you can return the call between bands. Please do not talk on your phone during a performance.
  • Do not allow children to play in the stands and distract other spectators. Obviously, children are the future of this activity. It is good for them to see why big brother and big sister are always at practice and are not at home. However for their safety and as a courtesy to others they should not be allowed to run up and down steps and play in the aisles so others may enjoy the show.
  • Do not make negative comments about other bands. That color guard uniform that you don’t like may have been made by that guard members mother that is sitting behind you. That man sitting in front of you could be the arranger or drill designer or even the band director. If you don’t have something nice to say then you probably should not say it. Remember how hard your bands members have worked to get their show ready for the field. Chances are that the other bands have worked just as hard to get their show ready.
  • Do not obstruct the view of others. Please avoid standing in front of people trying to watch the show. If you have a banner to display, try to do so from the top of the stands or in some way that others can still see the bands.
  • Do not boo other bands or the contest results during the awards. Unfortunately every one is not going to agree on contest results. Booing the award winners or the judges will not accomplish positive results.

Hopefully these tips will make your experience more enjoyable as you cheer your favorite band on and support all the performers of this amazing art form.

Rick Gardner – (by permission)
Scott Leatherland –
Rachel Rentschler – Lloyd Memorial Band Booster