Hawkeye Marching Band back in the halftime lineup after outcry

That’s a reversal from original plans to keep the University of Iowa and… 

IOWA CITY — A flag atop a Hawkeye fan-led petition urging the Cheez-It Citrus Bowl to “let the bands play” reads “victory” after event organizers this week announced both the Hawkeye Marching Band and Pride of the Southland Band will perform on the field before the bowl game and at halftime.

That’s a reversal from original plans to keep the University of Iowa and University of Tennessee bands off the field at halftime, instead committing that time to headliner Gavin DeGraw — a Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter.

“The Citrus Bowl has altered course and both the Hawkeye Marching Band and Tennessee’s Pride of the Southland band will now be performing pregame and halftime at the bowl,” Hawkeye Marching Band Director Eric Bush confirmed for The Gazette.

“We are thankful to the Citrus Bowl and Gavin DeGraw for working together to help showcase our bands, which are not only an important part of the game day experience, but also our universities’ cultures and traditions.”

The 78th Citrus Bowl pitting the No. 17-ranked Hawkeyes against the No. 21-ranked Volunteers is scheduled for New Year’s Day in Camping World Stadium in Orlando, where the Hawkeyes lost a close matchup two years ago in the same bowl to the Kentucky Wildcats.

Bowl game appearances are integral to the Hawkeye Marching Band and Hawkeye football experience, with the band annually penciling in postgame trips — assuming the team does well enough to make the Big Ten Championship and a bowl appearance.

It has traveled to not only Orlando but San Diego, Tampa, New York City, and Pasadena for bowls over the years — making its first bowl game appearance at the Rose Bowl in 1957, which also marked the band’s first nationally-televised performance.

“Marching bands are a part of the college football game day culture and these hundreds of performers dedicate thousands of hours toward entertaining fans,” according to the Change.org petition that amassed nearly 10,000 signatures of supporters wanting halftime appearances for the bands. “They work nights, weekends, and practice on their own time, just for the opportunity to play in front of their fans.

“A bowl game should be the culmination of that work and dedication, but the organizers of the Cheez-Its Citrus Bowl have ripped that away from these performers. Once a culture of paid promotion takes over one halftime, others will be sure to follow.”

Fans continued the barrage of criticism on the Citrus Bowl’s social media channels, posting on unrelated promotional items comments like, “Hey I know … let the marching bands perform at half time,” and “You know what else goes great with luxury suites and premium seating — premium entertainment by the MARCHING BAND!!!”






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