Bands of America 2019: A Preview of Southern Events
For bandwatchers across the Carolinas, the most significant absence from the 2019 Bands of America schedule is the Carolinas Regional which sadly is not present after a 5 year tenure.
While this means that bands from the Carolinas will not have a regional in their home states this year, the area will still be served by six regionals: the Johnson City, TN Regional, the Atlanta-area Powder Springs, GA Regional, the Louisville, KY Regional, the Lynchburg, VA Regional, the College Park, MD Regional, and the Orlando, FL Regional.
Johnson City, TN
The Johnson City Regional, which was discontinued after 2003, will be revived at the “Mini-Dome” on October 12th. Located at East Tennessee State University, it is roughly 150 miles from Gaffney High School, making it the closest event on the calendar to the former Carolinas Regional. At the last installment of this regional, Fort Mill HS (Fort Mill, SC), Rock Hill HS (Rock Hill, SC), and James F. Byrnes HS (Duncan, SC) appeared in finals.
South Carolina Bands have won this regional twice in its history with Irmo HS (Irmo, SC) winning the event in 2001 and James F. Byrnes HS winning it in 1999.
Virginia has never held a Bands of America event before. There have been events in every state bordering it, but never in Bands of America’s 34 years of marching championships has there been an event in the Commonwealth of Virginia. That all changes this year, as Liberty University will host a Bands of America regional at Williams Stadium, its 25,000 seat Division I-grade Football Stadium in Lynchburg.
Powder Springs, GA
When the Atlanta Super Regional was discontinued in 2018, the Powder Springs Regional, a traditionally early-season regional, was pushed back into late October to fill the void. This regional has a history of South Carolina victories, with Fort Mill HS (Fort Mill, SC) winning it in 2015 and Wando HS (Mt. Pleasant, SC) taking the 2018 title. The 2019 regional will be held at Walter Cantrell Stadium at McEachern High School.
The 2019 Orlando Regional will be held at Camping World Stadium in Downtown Orlando, FL. Although it is a good distance away from the Carolinas, Summerville HS (Summerville, SC), as well as Cape Fear (Fayetteville, NC) and Cleveland HS (Cleveland, NC) made the trek for last year’s regional.
The Tennessee-Kentucky Regional, which was held last year at Austin Peay State University at Clarkesville, TN, will be held at the University of Louisville in Louisville, KY. The last time a regional was held there was in 2014, where two-time Grand National Finalist, Castle HS (Newburgh, IN) took home their first regional title.
College Park, MD
The Mid-Atlantic Regional was most recently held at the University of Delaware in Newark, DE. However, this year it will take place at Capital One Field in College Park, MD, the home of the University of Maryland Terrapins. While many groups from the Carolinas don’t tend to venture that far north, a recent Carolina contender for the regional title in Newark was Green Hope HS (Cary, NC) who finished top 3 and were AAAA class champions in 2017 and 2018 regionals.
Grand National Championships, Indianapolis, IN
The 2019 Grand National Championship will be held at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, IN with no major changes on November 14-16.
Another absence from the 2019 schedule will be the Jacksonville, AL Regional held at Burgess-Snow Field every year since 2010, except for 2013. This regional has been the site of great achievements by South Carolina bands. Nation Ford HS (Fort Mill, SC) won the regional twice in a row in 2016 and 2017 and Fort Mill HS (Fort Mill, SC) won the outstanding music performance award for both their class and overall in the prelims competition in 2014. The only years in the regional’s existence that a South Carolina band did not make a finalist appearance were 2010 and 2015. It will be disappointing to not have a Jacksonville Regional and to see such a large swath of the south unrepresented this season.
The Carolinas Regional was held at Winston-Salem State University in 2013, Wake Forest University from 2014-2017, and Gaffney High School in 2018. The competition was dominated for the first four years of its existence by Dobyns-Bennett HS (Kingsport, TN) however, in 2017 and 2018 the regional was won by South Carolina bands, with Fort Mill HS (Fort Mill, SC) winning in 2017 and Wando HS (Mt. Pleasant, SC) winning in 2018. A South Carolina Band had made finals at the regional in every year of its existence.