Welcome to Arkansas State University!

October 19, 2024
Centennial Bank Stadium
Arkansas State University

MB State on field.jpg


    The A-State Open is a marching competition for high school bands where bands are classified by band size, not by high school enrollment.  Band size includes all musicians participating in the performance, including brass, woodwinds, drum line, and front ensemble. Bands may elect to enter a larger classification but not a smaller one. Performance order will be determined by size of band.

    Class A: 1-25 members
    Class AA: 26-50 members
    Class AAA: 51-74 members
    Class AAAA: 75-105 members
    Class AAAAA: 106 or more members

    The 2024 non-refundable entry fee is $250.00. Bands who registered and paid for the 2023 A-State Open will receive a 50% discount on 2024 registration. Registration will be open from August 1, 2024 until September 30, 2024. 

    To register for the A-State Open, and to pay by credit card or electronic check, please click the button below (link operational on 8/1/24). This method is strongly recommended. Once you follow the link, click on "A-State Open Registration" at the bottom of the page and follow the instructions. If you are unable to pay by credit card or electronic check, please email Dr. Nick Balla at nballa@astate.edu. He will get back to you with instructions on registering with a paper check.

  • Judging

    The A-State Open will have eight judges (3 music, 2 visual, 1 percussion, 1 color guard, and 1 drum major).  The judges for 2023 are:

    Music 1: Dr. Jason Hausback (Professor of Trombone/Director of Jazz Studies, Missouri State University)

    Music 2: Dr. Kevin Kessler (Director of Athletic Bands/Assistant Professor of Music, South Dakota State University)

    Music 3: Dr. Onsby Rose (Director of Instrumental Activities and Associate Professor of Music, Dordt University)

    Visual 1: Randil Jeffreys (Visual Caption Head: Blue Knights Drum and Bugle Corps)

    Visual 2: Dr. Shaun Popp (Associate Director of Bands/Director of Athletic Bands, University of Louisiana at Lafayette)

    Percussion: TBD

    Color Guard: John Tocco (Colorguard Director, Fort Zumwalt North, St. Louis, MO)

    Drum Major: Alexandra Borchardt Hughes (2018 A-State Drum Major/Band Graduate Assistant: Tuscaloosa, AL)

  • Awards

    Awards for the 2024 A-State Open are:

    Trophy for each Band that Earns a Rating of Excellent
    Trophy for each Band that Earns a Rating of Superior
    Trophy for the Top Three Percussion Sections in each Class
    Trophy for the Top Three Color Guards in each Class
    Trophy for the Top Three Drum Majors in each Class
    Trophy for the Outstanding Soloist for each Class
    Trophy for the Top Three Bands in each Class
    Trophy for the Most Entertaining Band in Class A/AA/AAA
    Trophy for the Most Entertaining Band in Class AAAA/AAAAA
    Trophy for the Top Three Overall Music Scores
    Trophy for the Top Three Overall Marching Scores
    Trophy for the Overall 10th Place Band
    Trophy for the Overall 9th Place Band
    Trophy for the Overall 8th Place Band
    Trophy for the Overall 7th Place Band
    Trophy for the Overall 6th Place Band
    Trophy for the Overall 5th Place Band
    Trophy for the Overall 4th Place Band
    Trophy for the Overall 3rd Place Band
    Trophy for the Overall 2nd Place Band
    Trophy for the A-State Open Grand Champion

  • Rules and Guidelines

    A-State Open Rules and Guidelines (Updated 9/20/22)

    Any high school band that is a member of its state band association is invited to compete.

    No more than 20 bands will be accepted for the Arkansas Open. In the event that 10 or fewer bands enter, the contest may be canceled. Performance order will be determined by band size. 

    The entry fee is $250. Bands are not officially entered until their entry fee is received.

    The A-State Open is a marching competition for high school bands where bands are classified by band size, not by high school enrollment. Band size includes all musicians participating in the performance, including brass, woodwinds, drum line, and front ensemble. Bands may elect to enter a larger classification but not a smaller one.

    Class A: 1-25 members
    Class AA: 26-50 members
    Class AAA: 51-74 members
    Class AAAA: 75-105 members
    Class AAAAA: 106 or more members

    There is no minimum or maximum show length. However, bands have 16 minutes of “Stadium time.” This time begins at the scheduled performance time, unless a band has caused the competition to run behind. Any band who causes the contest to adjust the scheduled times for other bands will be assessed a 2 point “delay of contest” penalty.

    The bands’ overall music score will break ties in score.

    The contest is run on a caption-judged format. There are 3 music judges, 2 visual judges, a percussion judge, a color guard judge, and a drum major judge. The music and visual judges’ scores will be compiled for the bands’ final scores, rating, and rankings. Each judge will be responsible for 20% of the score meaning that music will comprise 60% of the final score and visual will comprise 40%. Color guard, percussion, and drum major judges will determine placement and awards within their captions but will not affect the bands’ final scores.

    A numerical score determines the band’s rating and ranking, as well as those of the auxiliary units. Ratings are assigned as follows:

    I (Superior) 80.0-100.0
    II (Excellent) 60-79.9
    III (Average) 40-59.9
    IV (Fair) 20-39.9
    V (Poor) 1-19.9

    If weather conditions are considered by the contest director to be unsafe, the event will be declared a rainout. Unsafe conditions include, but are not limited to, extremely heavy rains, the presence of lightening or the issuance of weather warnings.

    If the contest is called a rainout before it begins, the contest may be moved indoors if facilities are available.

    If facilities are not available, the contest will be canceled. The entry fee will not be refunded. If a band withdraws from the competition before the contest is canceled, the entry fee will not be refunded. If a band withdraws from the competition after October 1 for any reason, their entry fee will not be refunded.