Collegiate Marching Band Festival

Photo courtesy of The Collegiate Marching Band Festival

The Collegiate Marching Band Festival, an annual showcase of bands in the Northeastern United States, will be held this year on Sep. 29 at J. Birney Crum Stadium in Allentown, Pa.

“The festival started in 1996 with the idea of providing a venue for high school students to see a variety of college marching bands,” says Dr. John Villella, founder of the festival’s production company Vivace Productions and associate dean of music for West Chester (Pa.) University. “Many high school students are considering college choices in the fall and looking to continue their musical endeavors even if they are not anticipating a career in music.”

This year the event will feature 23 collegiate marching bands, all of different sizes and styles. Although not a competition, it is one of the few events for students and marching band enthusiasts to see more than two collegiate marching bands perform at once.

“It’s really cool to perform for other people that appreciate and understand what it is you’re doing and are as excited about it as you are,” says Courtney Beard, Vivace program coordinator.

Proceeds from the event go back to the participating bands, which include Boston University, the University of Massachusetts (UMass) Amherst, Rutgers University and West Chester University, among many others.

“I wanted to create a program where proceeds were returned to the bands to help cover their travel expenses and a venue that showcased the variety of programs in our region,” Villella says.

Each band also sets up an information table where prospective college students can get more information and be recruited by the bands. “It’s a great place to go get information about the schools,” says Beard, a tuba alumnus of UMass. “I went to school with a couple of kids who chose UMass because they saw them perform at this event.”

Find out more or buy tickets at

About author

Elizabeth Geli

Elizabeth Geli is the assistant editor of Halftime Magazine and a journalist/communications professional in Southern California. Her 11 years at the University of Southern California (USC) Trojan Marching Band included time as a flute player, graduate teaching assistant, and student advocate. She holds a bachelor's degree in Print Journalism and master's degree in Specialized Journalism (The Arts) from USC.

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