Official Venue: Tour of Champions August 4

Ladies and gentlemen, we have a stadium

For months now, fans and friends of The Cadets and drum corps around the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast have been eagerly awaiting news on the August 4 Tour of Champions event featuring seven of last season's top corps in the world.

Finding a suitable location for The Cadets to host the final regular-season showdown along the Atlantic seaboard between the Blue Devils, Carolina Crown, Phantom Regiment, Santa Clara Vanguard, Bluecoats and The Cavaliers has been more difficult in 2013 than ever before.

Over the past two years, YEA! and The Cadets have had the honor (and luck) of presenting the Tour of Champions at the magnificent MetLife Stadium, home of the New York Giants and Jets football teams and the 2014 Super Bowl.

Despite the rain in 2011 and 2012, the corps, the facility and the fans have been incredible. However, the streak seems to have come to an end.

MetLife Stadium is the most profitable stadium in the United States (and third most profitable in the world), but it earns that status by being home to two NFL football teams and a number of summer concert tours (featuring Bruce Springsteen, Bon Jovi, U2, Taylor Swift, Kenney Chesney and so on). Then, there are the sporting events that fill the arena, including lacrosse, Monster Trucks, soccer and NCAA football. Even Wrestlemania recently played to 85,000 spectators on the floor of MetLife stadium.

So whenever YEA! approaches the stadium for rental, we are warmly welcomed but understand that we are always what is called a “second hold.” If the date is available, we are allowed to host our event. If not, we are leapfrogged by much, much more profitable events. YEA! has an excellent relationship with the folks at MetLife Stadium; we have held multiple USBands events there in the fall, but we understand that business is business.

Such is the case this year. A very large soccer tournament (complete with natural grass installation) has the hold on the stadium for the weekend of August 4, and the million-dollar payday for the soccer event simply dwarfs the income potential from the crowd of 10,000 that we hope to bring to the Tour of Champions Finale.

For the past four months, the team at YEA! has been tirelessly exploring every potential stadium within a 200-mile radius to find a venue suitable for the best marching music ensembles in the world and the thousands of fans who adore them.

Here’s a sample of the stadiums engaged: Rutgers University, Princeton University, the University of Pennsylvania, Lincoln Financial Field, the University of Delaware, West Point, the United States Naval Academy, Raven Stadium, Towson University, Hersheypark Stadium, Lehigh University, Clifton Stadium and many more. (You can see the list below for all the details we encountered!)

With all of the above in mind and summer quickly approaching, YEA! has come to an agreement on a unique and, we think, interesting location for the August 4 premier event.

Cadets Director George Hopkins said, “We are not going to be in North Jersey, and we are not pleased about this. As pointed out, we would LOVE to be at MetLife Stadium. We worked for Clifton High School even with the limitations, but we can’t wait any longer. The reality is, there is actually still a small chance that the soccer event will not happen. But time has run out.”

Hopkins continued, “The goal of YEA! is to manage an event and supplement it with everything possible to add value for alumni, donors, fans and friends, and we believe we have done so."

Our decision, made with the assistance and support of Drum Corps International, is to announce that we will be hosting the Tour of Champions August 4 event just twelve blocks from our home office in Allentown, PA at J. Birney Crum Stadium.

WHAT?! Three nights of shows in the same stadium?

Well, J. Birney Crum is the site of the good ol’ days when prelims and finals would bring the same 12 corps back on the same day. Remember those?

And just one week from August 4, DCI will host prelims, semifinals and finals with the same corps in an elimination tournament in a constant location - Lucas Oil Stadium.

So, this decision does not exactly break new ground.

For the first time in over a decade in Allentown, the Tour of Champions corps will perform together on one night and give fans the opportunity to enjoy action packed line-ups on Friday and Saturday evenings before they come together for a final showdown at J. Birney Crum Stadium on Sunday.

One other minor alteration has been made to the August 2-3 schedule, as The Cadets and the Blue Devils have swapped performance nights, with The Cadets now performing on Friday night and the Blue Devils now performing on Saturday.

Here’s what the line-ups will look like for the Tour of Champions Corps in Allentown during the first weekend of August:

Friday, August 2
The Cadets
Phantom Regiment
Santa Clara Vanguard

Saturday, August 3
Blue Devils
Carolina Crown
The Cavaliers 


Sunday, August 4
The Cadets
Blue Devils
Carolina Crown
Phantom Regiment
Santa Clara Vanguard
The Cavaliers

Tickets for the Tour of Champions August 4 event will be available beginning Friday, April 26.

Watch for details on Single, Double and Triple Play Packages to be announced on Friday!


Details on Other Stadium Conflicts:

Rutgers University: Football practice begins on Aug. 1 and the facilities are off-limits. Compound this issue with the recent turmoil within the athletic department, and you have an unworkable situation

Princeton University: Sizeable enough to host the event, but a natural turf surface and no history of renting the facility out to independent organizations, and we have a non-starter

Hersheypark Stadium: Despite repeated requests, Jay-Z and Justin Timberlake declined our offer to open for the Tour of Champions corps on the same day of their concert in Hershey

Franklin Field: Turf installation this summer coupled with the traffic/parking issues of downtown Philadelphia and two other YEA!-sponsored drum corps events within 20 miles

Lincoln Financial Field (Home of the Eagles): Early on, we were declined due to natural turf issues and the proximity of the start of the NFL Preseason

University of Delaware: See Rutgers, minus the athletic department turmoil

West Point: This proves to be a potential back-up site for us in the future, but having not rented the stadium to outside organizations, coupled with military and government bureaucracies and the Sequestration, we simply could not make this happen in 2013. However, efforts of many individuals interested in bringing DCI to the West Point campus gives us a great starting point for 2014.

Annapolis: Despite an excellent relationship with the facility, Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium is located a little too far away from our target market of New Jersey and New York

Ravens Stadium: See Annapolis

Towson University: See Annapolis

Lehigh University in Bethlehem: Natural turf and no lights

Clifton Stadium: This was actually our first choice, but a series of concerts for the citizens of Clifton is scheduled for every Sunday evening this summer. That fact along with a smaller site with parking and logistical challenges would make for a less than spectacular guest experience

And there were many, many more…


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