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marching competitions

Competition season is like no other. It's exciting, nerve-wracking and thrilling. Whether you're a student, instructor, volunteer, family member, band fan or member of the public – it's great to be a part of the Lincoln Marching Patriots crew.

What to Expect for Competitions


  • Every competition is a bit different based location, vibe, competition and sometimes the rules of the organizing body.

  • Cheer on Lincoln and the other bands. Your entrance fee allows you to enjoy the creativity of many other programs! See more on band audience etiquette

Performances & Scoring

  • ​We typically perform twice. There's usually a preliminary round, followed by an announcement of how judges scored the schools. Finalists perform again later in the event.

  • Each organizing body has different ways of counting band size and determining competition classes. 

  • You will see some judges on the field with the students.

  • There are time limits for how quickly bands get on and off the field, plus other items that can result in point deductions. 

  • Many events score the overall band and also offer other sub-categories such as visual effect, color guard and more. 

  • Be prepared for some long days and late nights (for both students and traveling fans). We may perform as late as 10 pm, and each event ends with awards. 

Tickets, Costs and Venues

Tickets typically go on sale weeks before events. It's typically cheaper to get tickets online in advance rather than at the venue. 

  • Audience members will pay an entrance fee for each event. These fees often cover the event costs while also continuing to sustain music programs. At the bigger competitions, audience members must purchase separate tickets for prelims and finals, and they clear the stands in between.

  • Tickets don't typically sell out. If you want reserved tickets for Minneapolis or Indianapolis, get them early. Reserved tickets are usually closest to the 50-yard line.

  • Even though LHS fans try to sit as close to the 50 as possible, many people in our crew get general admission. 

  • Many LHS fans wait to buy finals tickets until we learn if our band advances to finals. You can do this online while at the event or nearby.

  • Be prepared to pay extra fees on your admission tickets at Bands of America and Youth in Music events.

  • Many venues also have rules on what items you can bring into the facility. Think about taking as few items as possible. Some locations only allow clear, stadium-approved bags of a certain maximum size. Be sure to check the event and venue websites well in advance.

  • In Minneapolis and Indianapolis, you will also pay for parking. Check apps like Spot Hero or Park Whiz to see if you can reserve your spot and pay in advance.

  • Both Bands of America and Youth in Music offer merchandise sales (sweatshirts, t-shirts, etc. on site). Get in line while if you see a short line or find out if you can order online, otherwise you could miss the performance you came to see! 

Follow Along Online

Whether you're at a competition or far away, these are some good tips to know. 


Can't make it to a competition or have loved ones far away? Some events offer live streaming for a fee. Visit their individual websites below for details.

Social Media, Web and Heja App

For updates, follow:

Student Trip Experience

This varies by event, and details are announced to students parents via email and/or the Heja app closer to the event.

  • All students ride our bus transportation to the competition. Many times, it's on a school bus rather than a coach.

  • Parents can check out students from their bus chaperone after the event. A parent must talk with the designated chaperon in person to physically sign out their student. Not sure who the right chaperone is? Your student should know.

  • The only 2023-24 trip when the band will stay in hotels is Indianapolis. All other trips, buses will transport students back to LHS with a very late night or early morning arrival. If your student does not drive, you will need to pick up your student from school or arrange a ride.

  • Sometimes students will need to pack meals for travel. Sometimes, food will be provided. Sometimes, it's a mix.

  • Stay tuned to event emails from the band directors and BPA for details. 

Band Audience Etiquette

Audience Etiquette

One of the most important parts of a band show is the audience. Bands come from schools large and small. Some are experiencing setbacks. Others have overcome odds just to have a marching band. Some are having their most positive marching season ever. It’s important to maintain our high standard of excellence as Lincoln Patriot families. We love our band, but we support all the bands! 

As we are aware, marching band students spend weeks and months working very hard preparing the season’s show. We want both the students and the spectators to all have the best experience possible, and one of those ways is to be a SPECTACULAR spectator! 

Things you should do at a band show: 

  • When the band takes the field, cheer them collectively with “Go Lincoln! Go Band! Go Pats!” to encourage the whole band and your fellow LHS fans. (Please refrain from calling out your student’s name when the band takes the field. They are laser-focused on the show.)

  • During our LHS show, cheer or applaud after the opener and in other transitions in their show. As you see the show more, you’ll know the right spots. And our students love to get a standing ovation and a rousing cheer at the end to salute all their hard work.

  • Support all the bands. Regardless of which band is on the field, you should applaud or even cheer when they do a good job. Reaction from the crowd encourages the band and will result in a more enjoyable show for the audience. Applause at the end of solos and sections of the show is appropriate and encouraged!

  • Watch the whole show. Observe different elements of the band’s performance. Your interest may be that fantastic tuba line, but you might be surprised with the work the color guard is doing. Many things are going on at once in a show. If you watch a show several times, you will see something new each time! 

  • Show up early. This is especially true for supporters of larger class bands. Many smaller class bands have great shows. Arrive early and see what you have been missing. Most events are general admission, but some bigger ones have reserved seating options.

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