How are contest locations selected?
Every SFWGA member unit is eligible to host a contest.
Host applications are available online in the summer and fall
prior to the start of the season.
How are scores calculated?
Scoring is a complex process and judges must train for
many years to master this art. The scoring process is based
on learning theory. The highest scoring units challenge performers
to learn, practice, and finally master new skills by continuously
adding new and more complex work into the show. For this reason,
early in the season a unit that performs perfectly may not
score as high as a unit that exhibits more complex work that
the performers are being challenged to master. There are multiple
captions to each activity, and each caption is divided into
two parts. Approximately one half of the total score is awarded
on how well the show is designed relative to the performers'
skills, and the other half is awarded on how well the performers
execute the material.
What causes penalties?
Color Guard performances have minimum and maximum time
limits: interval time, which is the total amount of
time the unit is on the floor, including set-up and tear-down,
and show time, which is the total time of the actual
performance. Color guard has one additional element, minimum
equipment time, which measures the elapsed time that equipment
is in at least one performer's hands. The majority of penalties
are due to overages in interval time, or being short on performance
or equipment time. Other penalties may be assessed for boundary
line infractions, improper equipment or prop padding, performer
eligibility, instructor coaching from the stands, or adults
on the contest floor after the performance begins, among others.
What are the different scoring classifications?
The SFWGA uses the WGI Scoring system. Ensembles are grouped
by general skill level with specific skill criteria defined
for each group. Tthe AAA, AA, and JV classes are entry level
classifications where performers learn basic work. "A"
Class is the largest class nationally, where performers have
mastered the basic skills and have integrated some intermediate
skills into their performances. Locally, we separate the upper
level of the color guard A class into Elite A, which tends
to be units that compete in WGI Regionals and often Nationals.
Open class participants are usually National competitors that
have mastered intermediate skills as well as some advanced
skills. World Class is the highest skill level, and is typically
the result of highly advanced programs. Professional designers,
composers, and choreographers work with performers, who are
expected to have mastered all elements of the activity and
are focused on exhibiting new levels of creativity in performance
How are contests funded?
Admission ticket sales cover slightly less than half of
contest expenses. Membership fees that units pay to join the
SFWGA cover 32% of the expenses, and Host Franchise Fees,
the fee the Host School pays to the SFWGA, cover 18% of the
Why aren't contests evenly distributed among Broward, Dade
and Palm Beach counties?
The SFWGA depends on its member schools to offer their
campuses for contests. Since the average contest can bring
50 or more school groups on campus, school administrations
can be reluctant to agree to hosting a contest. Band programs
and booster associations may not have adequate volunteers
or resources available. Hosting a contest is a complex undertaking
requiring many months of planning. The SFWGA works with all
new Hosts to help plan and organize their events. All SFWGA
member color guard, percussion, and winds units are eligible
to apply to host a contest. A
disproportionate amount of contests among counties is the
result of a disproportionate number of schools within those
counties that make their campuses available.
Why aren't admission prices the same at all contests?
The SFWGA sets the admission ticket prices for the Premiere,
Championship Prelims and Championship Finals contests. The
hosting band programs and booster organizations each set the
admission prices for the remaining contests at their particular
are my son/daughter's opions for participation with a winter
If your son or daughter attends an elementary, middle, or
high school that fields a member unit with the SFWGA, then
they are only eligble to perform with that team. The SFWGA
encourages and supports independent teams for high school
graduates, college students, and for students whose school
does not field a winter guard team. Please refer to our Policies
and Procedures document (above) for a complete breakdown of
can't I make a video recording of my son/daughter's performance?
Copyright laws guarantee that music composers, artists, and
publishers have the right to control every aspect of the music
tracks they create. The purchase of recorded music by consumers
only gives the consumer the right to use that piece of music
for their own personal enjoyment. The performance of both
live music and recorded music in a public venue requires additional
licensing and the payment of royalties to the licensing organizations.
This is true even if that music is just used as a backdrop
to a performance, as in color guard, or in the intervals between
performances. The SFWGA has competition and concert music
licenses from ASCAP and BMI, the two prominent licensing organizations
in the US, for all of our competitions, including color guard,
winds, and percussion. These licenses specifically prohibit
any spectator video recording that includes the music track.
Recording any aspect of a performance is a violation of our
license terms, and could result in the revocation of permissions
for one or more units. The SFWGA sets a positive example for
our student performers through compliance with US Copyright
laws and respect for the rights of the music composers and
Why do some performance times change during the week before
Preliminary performance times are first posted following
the add/drop membership period in December. However, units
may continue to enter or withdraw from contests throughout
the season. We discourage units from changing contests or
classifications during the last 2 weeks prior to each contest,
and generally post the final performance times during that
final two week period. However, with 87 participating ensembles
during the 2016 season, it is inevitable that some minor changes
will occur, even during the final week. We do not make changes
during the final week before each contest that would change
a unit's performance time by more than 30 minutes. The final
official performance times are available on this website and
the mobile phone site by noon on Friday before each contest.