USBands Frequently Asked Questions

Where do I find the rule books?

Can I see the adjudicator's sheets?

What are the post-show critique procedures?

What is a Clinic/Show?

State Championship Information

National Championship Information

USBands Event Withdrawal Policy

Where do I find the rule books?

There are currently two versions of the rule book. We have a general rule book, and one specifically for Texas shows.

Can I see the adjudicator's sheets?

Click on the below links for a PDF document of the front & back sides of the Adjudicator Sheets.

Judges Sheets


What is a Clinic/Show?

USBands is committed to the growth of all bands, not just from year to year, but throughout the season as well. We know that lots of bands like to "come out early" to gain feedback and perspective before they complete and/or refine their program. We offer a clinic/show during the early weeks of the marching band season to further aid these bands in their development.

At a clinic/show, the traditional competition format is changed slightly. Each band performs, and the performance is followed immediately by a clinic with one of the judges. Clinicians meets with the band and talks with the students, director, and staff in an open review format. The clinician shares comments with the group from the judges perspective to reinforce the positive attributes of their show, and to key them into areas for growth. By the end of the evening, each band will have had the benefit of four adjudicators taped commentaries, a clinic from the all-caption adjudicator, a traditional awards ceremony, and the usual post-show critique. This has, in the past, proven to give a strong "jump-start" to the season.

Post-Show Critique Procedures

When the final band performs schools will be allowed time to review the comments made during the performance and on the comment sheets provided. The assistant cordinator is responsible for running critique in a timely manor, rotating directors and staff between the judges as outlines in the AC staff assingments and USBands rulebook. 

USBands State Championships

The USBands State Championships series were established in 2002 after the events of September 2001 when many schools seriously reconsidered their extracurricular activities and associated travel. With input from many band directors and administrators, USBands determined that a series of State Championships would allow for bands to complete their season against top competition, in excellent venues before a high quality panel of adjudicators. Thus, State Championships were born. For 2012, we have tried to make every state championship on the same weekend (November 3-4) with only a few exceptions based on venue availability.


All bands, weather members or non-members of USBands are eligible to participate in State Championship events. 

Multiple State Championships

In some cases, bands from different states will compete at the same event for multiple state championships. Competition will be held for each state independently and there will not be overall rankings announced for group or class.

Out-of-State Competitions

If space allows and for special circumstances, bands from other states will be allowed to compete in a USBands State Championship different from the state of their origin. These bands will receive a score and the score will be announced prior to the state championship results, with the Out-of-state competitors not having the opportunity to place in the State event, but receive achievement acknowledgment based on their participation in the event.

State Championship Ticket Information

Tickets will be sent to the attention of the band director at the school address. In addition, an email, fax or standard mail will announce their mailing. It is the responsibility of the band director to claim these tickets. A signature, acknowledging the receipt of tickets, will be required, and act as confirmation of delivery. Any unsold tickets must be accounted for and returned to a USBands representative, or paid for upon arrival at event.  

For special rules and ticket requirements for the Texas State Championship please see the 2012 Texas Rulebook.

State Championship Performance Order

Performance order will be determined by two factors. The first being score, where a school with a higher score will be pushed towards the end.

For areas in which there is an extensive local circuit (such as New England, NJ etc) the number of shows you attended during the regular season will factor into your performance slot. Those who attended USBands shows consistently throughout the fall months will also be slotted later in the show.

For areas where there is not an extensive local circuit (New York, Tennessee) and groups do not have the opportunity to attend a USBands sanctioned show every weekend, you will not be penalized in any way.

Additional Rules

If a band has performed in the first 20% of slots in the previous year, they will be protected from having to perform in those same positions the following year.

Example: If there are 20 bands in the Group 5 Open Championship and a band has performed in the 4th slot in 2011, they will NOT have to perform in slots 1-5 (the first 20%) in 2012.

Exceptions may be used to allow bands with travel issues or other problems to be accommodated, if the USBands office is given advanced warning of special circumstances. 



USBands National Championships

The USBands National Championship was established in 2006 in order to provide a season-ending showcase for the more advance competitive units, bringing together top bands from the United States that normally end their season with regional circuit or state championships.

Open Class Championships

The USBands Open National Championship will be held on November 10 & 11 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ. MetLife also plays host to the NY Jets and Giants during the NFL regular season and will host Super Bowl XLVIII in 2014. The registration fee for Open Class Nationals is $950. 

A Class Championships

USBands A Class National Championships will be held November 10 & 11 at the Navy – Marine Corps Stadium on the campus of the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD. Please note that the City of Annapolis has strict noise ordinances in place barring excessive sound creation from 9 PM to 8 AM. These rules are factored into the schedule of all events held here and limits the number of participating bands, as well as rules preventing bands from warming up too early in the morning and performances in the parking lot and stadium after the event. The USBands A Class National Championship in Annapolis, MD has a registration fee of $695 associated with the event.

National Festival

In addition to Open and A Class USBands realizes that not all of its members are afforded the same luxury as others, or are simply not as strict and competitive.  Some students simply enjoy the activity, without the added pressure of high levels of competition. These bands should be able to celebrate the end of their season just like everyone else! With that, in 2012 the National Festival show was born. With its centralized location, affordable entry fee, and big stadium feel, this show will be hosted on Saturday November 10 at J. Birney Crum Stadium, in Allentown, PA.  


All bands weather members or non-members of USBands are eligible to participate in the USBands National Championships. A Class bands are allowed to “move up” a class and participate in the Open Competition, but not vice versa. Bands may also chose to move up in Group size as well, but may not move down - A Group 3 band may compete at the group 4 (A or Open) level, but would not be allowed to compete against the Group 2 bands.


Withdrawal from USBands Shows

USBands has been founded on the principles of fairness, inclusion and flexibility when serving the music education activity. Penalties very rarely have any place in our organization.

However, there are some times as a sanctioning body where we need to protect and defend the local event hosts and our own interests against decisions guest bands make that have a negative impact on the hosting group. One such situation is regarding the withdrawal of bands from events without advance notice.

For those bands that do not run a marching band competition, there is a tremendous amount of detail work and investment of time and resources in pulling off even the smallest of events. Also, in some cases where there are a strictly limited number of performance times, bands who register and then cancel at the last minute prevent other bands from participating in a given event.

Therefore, in an effort to compensate the host bands or USBands for their investment or lost income, we have a policy which allows for bands to withdraw in advance of event with enough notice or receive a withdrawal penalty fee if the withdrawal is not completed with enough advance warning. We at USBands and the host bands appreciate your understanding.

USbands understands there are emergencies which cannot be overlooked, and in those cases we will review the details surrounding the situation.

Any band may withdraw from a USBands-sanctioned show up to two (2) weeks prior to the event without penalty. After that point, a withdrawal will result in a monetary fine and a possible suspension from further USBands events for bands that habitually abuse the system.

Date of Show Last day to withdraw
September 15 September 3
September 22 September 10
September 29 September 17
October 6 / 7 September 24
October 13 / 14 October 1
October 20 / 21 October 8
October 27 / 28 October 15
States Weekend - November 3 - 4 October 22
National Championship Weekend - November 10 & 11               November 1 

To withdraw from any USBands event please contact the USBands office and the local event host as necessary in writing by the above deadlines.

For local events, the fine is forwarded directly to the local event host to be applied toward expenses and lost income resulting from the withdrawal.

For regional/state/national USBands events, the penalty for a band withdrawing from an event that does not have a registration fee will be the same as the local event schedule listed below. If the USBands event does have a registration fee, the entire amount of the fee will be forfeited, or in the case the band has not yet submitted payment, they will be invoiced for the full amount of the registration fee.

For more information on the USBands, or to register for events or to volunteer, please contact:

Justin Heimbecker - Director of USBands -
Jon Swengler - Band Relations -
Melissa Reese - Band Relations -