Neither rain, nor hiatus, nor lack of funding has stopped DRUMS on the OHIO, which celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2018 with its first official alumni tailgate and special articles in its program guide.
An official show in the Drum Corps International summer tour, DRUMS on the OHIO in Evansville, Indiana, has grown through the years to incorporate a color guard clinic and a Blue Stars Drum and Bugle Corps clinic. The event also invites middle school and high school students to perform “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
Launched in 1978, the show has strong ties to The Imperial Guard Drum and Bugle Corps (1980 to 1982) and has become an important tradition for performers, volunteers, and attendees, according to Christopher Payne, an organizer of the event. The idea for the official alumni tailgate came from the fact that alumni reunite to tailgate unofficially every year.
In 2013, the show’s return after a five-year hiatus that occurred due to lack of funding proved its importance to corps and fans. After just one group performed, heavy rain caused a delay. An hour later, the show resumed, with 80% audience retention. “All the corps still went on, and it was still a great show,” Payne recalls.
For the future, Payne says that he hopes to vary the participating corps by changing the timing of the event. “For a lot of people, this is the only drum corps experience they’re [going to] get the entire year,” Payne explains.