Eleven regional high school marching bands strutted their stuff for one another and their parents during the Southeast Bulloch Band Blast Festival on Saturday, Sept. 24 - with an emphasis on "festival."
"It was a festival, not a competition," explained Southeast Bulloch band director Matt Olsen. "Most band contests are based on scores, but we base ours on getting good instruction and having a good time."
With marching band competition season at hand, the Band Blast gives bands an opportunity to hone their performances and get feedback from veteran judges without the pressure of scoring.
It also gives band parents a chance to not only cheer on their children but to practice their organizing skills for competitions.
"These competitions are huge fundraisers for our programs," said Statesboro High School band director Lee Collins. "It takes a lot of hard work from a lot of people. We have at least 50 to 60 adults working in addition to the band members to make sure these competitions are a positive experience."
At Southeast Bulloch High School, the parents are known as the Big Yellow Monsters.
"These boosters have figured this out," Olsen said.
Additionally, the Bulloch Blues Marching Band, a collaboration between the three Bulloch County high schools, will kick off its second season soon, and the Band Blast offered a chance for students from the three schools to interact. So far, the Bulloch Blues is scheduled to march in the Kiwanis Ogeechee Fair Parade and the Martin Luther King Jr. Day Parade, with other performances in the works.
Statesboro High will be hosting its own East Georgia Marching Championship for the 40th year on Oct. 29. Twenty three bands are scheduled to perform, along with an exhibition by Georgia Southern University's Southern Pride marching band.