A little rain didn’t stop performers from shining at Drum Corps International's SoundSport International Music and Food Festival Saturday, August 12. Hundreds of musicians and performers showcased their talents inside the Indiana Convention Center.
Typically held outdoors just across the street from Lucas Oil Stadium, the 2023 edition of the event hosted as part of DCI World Championships Week was moved into Halls J and K inside the convention center due to the threat of severe weather. Still, the indoor venue didn’t dampen the festival’s trademark block party-like atmosphere.
The event, in total — which included an array of food trucks, a string of historic drum corps artifacts, and much more to cater to thousands of attending fans — featured more than two dozen performances on an all-inclusive SoundSport stage and kicked off the final day of the 2023 DCI Summer Tour.
“It was freaking phenomenal,” Conquest drum major Everett Thuline said about the atmosphere at the event. “I’ve been so excited for this weekend, I always enjoy coming out here. I am just so proud of these performers. They killed it.”
The relaxed environment of the festival provided performers of any age and any instrumentation the chance to showcase their talent, which served as a unique and enjoyable opportunity, according to Thuline.
“We’re very casual with our performance,” Thuline said. “We’re engaging with the audience and it’s just so great.”
Part of the SoundSport event for the first time in 2023, the Indiana Band Showcase afforded seven Indiana high school “track bands” the stage to strengthen their young performers’ connections with the drum corps activity.
“It was a really cool moment for the performers,” IPS Combined Marching Band director Josh Goodman said. “We’re only a couple miles away from Lucas Oil Stadium, so they know of DCI. They got the chance to see the DCI event in Muncie, so this performance is a nice, full circle moment for them.”
Amongst Saturday’s many performing groups was the Baby Giant/Hong Kong Drummer Festival Drumline. Saturday’s event was the first time the performing group attended the SoundSport festival and marked the culmination of a year’s worth of preparation.
“It was our first time here at the SoundSport competition and it was amazing,” Baby Giant director Tang Lok Yin said. “We prepared for around a year and trained new students through our advanced drum lines for the event.”
Baby Giant/Hong Kong Drummer Festival drumline wasn’t the only performing group that made its first appearance at Saturday’s festival. Lab Rats, a product of Jersey Surf’s Mobile Music Lab, performed in the SoundSport section of Saturday’s event.
The performing group has existed since 1990. Working through Jersey Surf’s Mobile Music Lab, Lab Rats was designed to bring the performing arts to underserved areas and communities. According to he hope now becomes that Lab Rats’ performance Saturday afternoon is one performance experiment in a series of many.
“We, as the Lab Rats, brought the stage all the way out here to get performance opportunities off the ground in the hopes others will join us,” Lab Rats performer and Jersey Surf director of operations Rich Klimowicz said.
As part of Saturday’s Festival, seven battery percussion ensembles also competed in DCI’s engaging and competitive DrumLine Battle competition. Performances pit drum lines against one another head-to-head and face-to-face, while focusing on entertainment value and engagement.
7th Regiment, one of DCI’s Open Class participants who has been synonymous with energy and audience interaction on the DrumLine Battle stage, won the Indianapolis DrumLine Battle for the fifth time in a row Saturday afternoon.
“It feels so awesome,” 7th Regiment snare drummer Connor Post said. “It feels like we’re one of the top World Class corps when we walk into this place. It’s awesome when someone picks you out through the crowd. It’s really just an amazing feeling.”
After an expanded and exciting installment, Drum Corps International and SoundSport look forward to another edition of the SoundSport International Music & Food Festival in Indianapolis in 2024.
Complete SoundSport and DrumLine Battle Results
Molotov Cockatiel - Bronze
Alisal Marching Band - Silver
Frankton/Lapel Marching Band - Silver
John Adams High School - Silver
Bishop Dwenger Marching Band - Silver
Conquest Drum & Bugle Corps - Silver
Eclipse Drum & Bugle Corps - Silver
Lab Rats - Silver
IMPACT - Gold
Sonus Brass Theater - Gold
The Cowtown Collection - Gold
Northern Lights - Gold
Minnesota Brass - Gold
Bluecoats Rhythm IN BLUE - Gold
Best in Class Awards
Youth Best In Class - Eclipse Drum & Bugle Corps
All-Age Best In Class - Bluecoats Rhythm IN BLUE
Best in Show - Bluecoats Rhythm in BLUE
Ensemble Spirit Award - Cowtown Collection
Outstanding Achievement Awards
IPS All-City Band
Alexandria Marching Tigers
Baby Giant/Hong Kong International Drummers
Southwestern Jr./Sr. High School Band
The Force of Winchester
Northview Marching Nights
Drumline Battle Results
(DrumLine Battle winners in bold)
DrumLine Battle #1
Alisal VS. Youth Against Violence
Drumline Battle #2
Baby Giant/Hong Kong International Drummers VS. Raiders
Drumline Battle #3
7th Regiment VS. Colt Cadets
DrumLine Battle Championship
7th Regiment VS. River City Rhythm