Drum Corps International's 40th season is upon us! The very first weekend of the 2012 Drum Corps International Tour, presented by Blue Man Group, begins with competitions in Ohio and Kentucky.

As you gear up to celebrate the summer, here are five need-to-know things about DCI's 2012 opening weekend.

1. Kicking off DCI's 40th in Style

Drum Corps International celebrates its 40th anniversary in 2012 and this historic summer season kicks off on Saturday, June 16 in Akron, Ohio. Six of the top 12 corps from 2011 will take the field at the University of Akron's InfoCision Stadium during this very special event. The lineup and performance times (subject to change) include:

Innovations in Brass

Akron, Ohio | Saturday, June 16

7:40 p.m. Blue Stars

7:57 p.m. Phantom Regiment

8:14 p.m. Carolina Crown

8:31 p.m. The Cavaliers

8:48 p.m. The Cadets

9:05 p.m. Bluecoats

On Father's Day, Sunday, June 17, five of those corps will compete once more, traveling more than 300 miles to Louisville, Ky., while Phantom Regiment starts its trek west to participate in early-season Pacific region events.

The Blue Stars will kick off the performances at the University of Louisville's Papa John's Cardinal Stadium. The lineup and performance times (subject to change) are as follows:

DCI Louisville

Louisville, KY | Sunday, June 17

7:30 p.m. Pre-show

8:00 p.m. Blue Stars

8:17 p.m. Bluecoats

8:44 p.m. Carolina Crown

9:01 p.m. The Cadets

9:18 p.m. The Cavaliers

3. DCI on the Big Screen

If you'd like to be a part of the season-opening action but can't make it to Akron in person, DCI is once again teaming up with National Cinemedia's Fathom Events to bring fans the Drum Corps at the Movies: DCI Tour Premiere cinema event. On Monday, June 18 at 6:30 p.m. (local time), fans will be able to watch the performances as they happened two days earlier in Akron.

More than 500 theaters, across 48 states will show this second annual event. Tickets are on sale now. Order in advance to ensure you've got a seat in your favorite theater.

Find a theater near you.

Help spread the word about the Tour Premiere.

2. Suspenseful Scoring

Official scores from the first two events of the season, Innovations in Brass and DCI Louisville, won't be released to the public or the corps until Monday evening as part of the Tour Premiere. Kept a closely guarded secret to leave everyone on the edges of their seats, you'll need to head to the theater to be among the first to see who will make history as the first to come out on top in 2012!

4. Revamped Judging System

More than two years in the making, a new judging system that will be utilized at all 100 of the events on the 2012 DCI Tour schedule will debut on Saturday in Akron.

"The intent was to create a system that would evaluate and reward whatever the corps brought to the field, no matter how innovative, today and tomorrow," DCI Artistic Director Michael Cesario said.

5. Catch the Excitement Before it's too Late

After opening weekend, the DCI World Championship Finals in Indianapolis are a mere 54 days away. With 100 events making up the 2012 Tour, be sure to check the schedule and get out to a show before DCI's 40th anniversary season passes you by!

Remember, the 2012 DCI World Championships kick off with Open Class events Aug. 6-7 in Michigan City, Ind., followed by three days of competition in Indianapolis Aug. 9-11, with all kinds of special 40th anniversary festivities like the Grand Reunion interspersed throughout.