Stadium Swap-Outs at DCI and USSBA

Drum Corps International (DCI) and the U.S. Scholastic Band Association (USSBA), two of the country’s biggest competitive marching circuits, were both hit with big stadium problems, causing the relocation of their championship events.

DCI World Championships, originally scheduled to be the inaugural event at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, relocated to Memorial Stadium on the campus of Indiana University (IU) in Bloomington because construction on the new stadium will not be completed until Aug. 15.

This year would have been the first of 10 years of DCI World Championships at Lucas Oil Stadium. DCI officials knew that there was a possibility the stadium would not be ready in time but heard the final announcement through local news before being notified by stadium officials.

“Although more than 1,000 workers are on the stadium construction site daily, the timing just won’t work for this year,” according to the Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association. “We promise you, however, it will be well worth the wait come 2009 and beyond.”

DCI is encouraging people to keep hotel reservations in Indianapolis; free transportation will be provided from downtown Indianapolis to the IU campus, which takes about one hour.

Similarly, USSBA has been forced to move the location and dates of its entire end-of-season championships schedule. M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore decided to host a Navy-Notre Dame football game on Nov. 15, right in the middle of the USSBA National Championships, prompting a date change to Nov. 7 and 8 and a move to Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, Md.

“We have learned that if we plan to provide access to such large venues, we need to be patient, and we need to be calm,” said George Hopkins, CEO of USSBA’s parent organization— Youth Education in the Arts—in a press release. “From time to time, we will be thrown a curve ball. This is one of those curve balls.”

Its 20th Anniversary Celebration will still be held at M&T Bank Stadium on Nov. 9, separate from National Championships. The celebration will welcome all bands of any class (up to 45 bands) for one last final performance. The event will feature a seven-judge panel with a special clinic for each band, the first-ever USSBA Hall of Fame presentation and the promise of “special surprises and presentations.”

Other USSBA affected events that have been moved or cancelled include the Northern State Championships, the New Jersey State Championships, the Marine Corps Invitational, and the Preview of Champions.

“The arrangements we have with larger stadiums include the understanding that large events may replace our band competitions,” according to Hopkins. “As such, we are not offered a contract until football, concerts and soccer settle their arrangements. It is what we have to do to remain on terms with the professional stadiums. Some seasons, it all works out. This season … not so much.”

Check the DCI website at http://www.dci.org/ and the Youth Education in the Arts website at http://www.yea.org/ for updated event information.

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