Marching Band Competition Etiquette

By , September 13, 2013 9:58 am

We’ve been hearing for a while now that we should send out a “guide” for etiquette at marching band competitions.

Here it is:

Marching Band Contest Etiquette:

Cheer enthusiastically for all bands, but be careful that your cheering does not drown out delicate musical passages or audible drum major signals.


Be very careful of clapping along with the tempo, the sound delay to the field can be really confusing to the performers.

Our performance is not diminished when we applaud others. In fact, just the opposite occurs. Other booster groups see and appreciate our response to their bands and reciprocate with their applause. Reaction from the crowd will encourage the band to perform better and will result in a more enjoyable show for the audience.

Avoid talking or other interruptions or distractions during any band’s performance.

Avoid entering or exiting your seats while a band is performing. At most contests the time for each band is fifteen minutes. Each show lasts 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.

Show a friendly, helpful and enthusiastic attitude toward other fans. Boosters should be the same leaders in the stands they expect their students to be on the field, and vice versa.

Watch the whole show. Observe different elements of the bands performance. Your interest may be percussion for example, 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.

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 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.

Each contest has its own rules concerning video taping. Please watch signs at the stadium entrance gates and observe the rules. Some contests do not allow taping but do sell professionally produced videos at a cost.

Many contests sell announcements that will be read before each bandʼs performance. With a band our size we can have dozens of these little good luck messages. The time spent reading these messages can really have a negative effect on our performance. The last 2 hours before a performance we trying to get our 102 members to have their energy and mental focus all peak at exactly the right time. The delay to read announcements while we are standing at attention on the starting line can really add to student’s nerves and hurt our chances of success. Here is what we would like to see. The messages are sold as a money maker for the host band. Stop by the sales table and donate a dollar, but ask for no announcement. OR, Give them a dollar and have them wish their own band band “good luck” from Dublin Scioto. (Remember their band is hosting and not in competition at that show)

The most important rule of all! Come see your child perform. They work really hard and whether they say it or not, they love it when you are there to see them perform. COME OUT AND ENJOY THE EXPERIENCE!

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