The 45th annual Washington Marching Band Festival will take place this Saturday, Oct. 5.
Hosted by Washington High School, the festival will again feature a parade and field competition with 1,800 students from 29 schools participating.
The parade through Downtown Washington will begin at 8:30 a.m.
The field competition, which will be held at Rauch Field at Washington High School, will begin at 12:15 p.m.
Troy Bunkley, Washington High School band director and music department chair, said his students are excited to serve as host.
“Especially this year with the stadium renovations,” he said. “They really want to show what a great facility we now have.”
Bunkley said the festival is always a major undertaking and more than 200 volunteers, including parents, staff and others, will help to put it on.
“We are extremely lucky to always have more than enough people willing to put this event together,” he said.
There will be an admission charge for the field competition and award ceremonies. The cost is $8 for adults and $5 for students. Seniors and children under 5 get in free.
Bunkley said programs will be available to purchase for $3 at both the parade and field competitions.
Spectators are reminded that no parking will be allowed along the shoulders of Highway 47. People may park along Fourteenth Street or use the parking available at the shuttle parking lot.
Shuttles will be used to transfer spectators from parking at the Mercy Medical Building parking garage. These shuttles will take passengers to and from the Washington High School campus only. The shuttles will not provide transportation to or from the parade route.
The shuttles will run from 10 a.m. until 9 p.m.
There will be 21 bands in the parade competition, plus Washington High School, which as the host band, will not be competing.
The parade will begin at Main and Cedar streets and proceed east on Main to Jefferson Street. It will turn south on Jefferson to Eighth Street and end at Eighth at Sunnyside streets.
The bands will require the full width of the street, so parking restrictions will apply along the route Saturday from 7:30 until about 11 a.m. or the end of the parade.
Blue Jay Drive and both the high school and middle school campuses will be closed from 7 a.m. until 9 p.m. or the end of the festival.
There will be three judging locations — at the intersection of Main and Oak streets; Jefferson and Third streets; and on Eighth Street in front of the First Assembly of God Church.
Bunkley said the field competition will feature 13 bands in three classes.
Classes are determined by the enrollment of the school in grades 9-12.
“New this year, the field competition will include a preliminary performance with bands competing against schools of similar size enrollments,” Bunkley said.
The winner of each class plus the next five highest scoring bands, regardless of class, will perform in the finals.
“Those eight bands will compete head to head in the finals competition that begins at 6 p.m.,” he said. “The benefit for the bands is that they will get to perform twice for the judges and get evaluated by two judges in every area of critique.”
Bunkley said there are many more band contests for schools to compete in — nearly double the number of competitions from just five years ago — which has resulted in fewer bands at each event.
“With fewer bands, there is now the opportunity to perform twice and get twice the feedback from the adjudicators,” he said.
In addition to the placement awards, recognition will be given for Outstanding Percussion, Outstanding Auxiliary, Outstanding Music Performance and Outstanding Visual Performance.
The field competition will conclude with an exhibition performance by the Washington High School Marching Blue Jays and final awards presented at approximately 8 p.m.
Bunkley said one additional trophy will be presented to the highest scoring band that participates in both the parade competition and the field competition.
“This Sweepstake Award will hopefully encourage bands to participate in both of these competitions,” he said.