How are contest locations selected?
Every SFWGA color guard, percussion, or winds 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, Percussion, and Winds 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. Regional A (locally the 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 and design.
What is the difference between Percussion and Winds?
Percussion is limited to instruments that produce a sound
by striking the instrument. Electronic versions of these instruments
are also permitted, such as keyboards and electric guitars.
Marching percussion also incorporates drill, or performer
movement, in conjunction with the music, while in Concert
Percussion the performers remain in one position. Winds competitions
may include any musical instrument that could normally be
found in a band or orchestra, although scoring emphasis is
placed on the wind instruments. Drill is also an integral
part of Winds performances, which often resemble scaled-down
versions of marching band shows.
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
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 over 70 performing member
units, it is inevitable that some minor changes will need
to 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.