Quick Links for Parents & Fans

SFWGA Bylaws

SFWGA Policies
& Procedures
FAQ's for Parents & Fans

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 and design.

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 contest expenses.

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 schools.

What are my son/daughter's opions for participation with a winter guard team?
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 eligibility rules.

Why can't I make a video recording of my son/daughter's performance?
US 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 publishers.

Why do some performance times change during the week before a contest?

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.