More than 1,000 marching band enthusiasts clapped, cheered and stomped their feet at Ashe County High School Saturday, cheering on students from 14 high schools.
The parents, grandparents, brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles were part of the 10th annual Festival of Bands hosted by the Ashe County High School Band Boosters.
The event drew five schools from Virginia and nine from North Carolina, said Scott Turnmyre, Ashe County High School’s Band Director.
“There were schools from as far away as Davidson County, Surry, Wilkes and Iredell,” he said.
Traveling distance has become a bigger issue for traveling bands in the recent days of higher fuelprices. Some of the groups brought 100 students and loads of gear for the performances.
“It has had a real impact. Some of the groups that we normally have decided not to come,” Turnmyre said.
The performances are major productions making use of folded wooden props and giant flags in addition to normal traveling gear of uniforms, instruments, flag team banners and props. One school brought a vinyl reproduction of the Yellow Brick Road from “The Wizard of Oz.” Another school brought six tents big enough to park two cars under.
Helping get all that gear to the field and stay on the day’s tight schedule were seven ATVs on loan from Central Cycle Sales in Jefferson.
“Truiett Weaver from over there has been very supportive,” Turnmyre said as one of the gas-powered, four-wheelers driven by a band parent cruised by on the football stadium track. “He has done that for 10 years.”
The band director is pleased with the support the invitational event has gotten over the years. “98 percent of this is organized by the Ashe County Band Boosters. They do a great job.”
In addition to loan of the ATVs Turnyre said that the community in general has been very supportive. It shows up in places like advertising for the event’s program. Businesses from throughout the county advertise in the book.
The festival is a major fundraiser for the band and its travels.
“I hesitate to throw out a number,” Turnmyre said of proceeds from Saturday’s production. “In the past the least we have made is $6,000 and the most $11,000. Saturday was shaping up to be a good day fundraising wise. The stands were almost full when Ashe County High School’s Husky Vanguard Marching Band performed around 9 p.m. Attendees paid $6 per person.
Bands were judged on music, marching and maneuvering, general effect, percussion, visual; ensemble and drum major.
Ratings plaques were presented to each band. Trophies were presented to First and second place in Visual ensemble, percussion and drum major competition and first and second place in marching and maneuvering, music and general effect.
There was also Sprit Award, Band of the Day and th McDonald’s Cup, presented to the band with the highest total score. It was sponsored by McDonald’s of West Jefferson.