Twenty-three high-school bands from around Colorado will compete during the all-day program, with judging based on fifteen-minute performances. Each band must be a member of the Colorado Bandmasters Association to compete.
Preliminary performances will begin with Arvada High at 10 a.m. and end at 4:30 p.m. following a performance by Lakewood High. Of the 23 schools in competition, only twelve will advance to the finals, which will take place from 6 to 9:30 p.m. and end with an exhibition by D'Evelyn High. Awards are scheduled for 9:40 p.m.
Spectators will be allowed into the stadium beginning at 9:15 a.m. Tickets start at $8, with pricing determined by age and event (admission is free for children age five and under). Organizers are expecting between 4,000 and 5,000 spectators throughout the day.
Awards will be given for first through third place for every represented band class, and the twelve bands that make it to the finals will each receive a finalist award. The top three accolades of the competition are awarded for High Visual, High Music and High General Effect.
The inaugural Big Cat Invitational was held in 2019, when the first-, second- and third-place open class winners were Legacy, Monarch and Mesa Ridge high schools, respectively. All three will return to this year's competition.
Big Cat is one of only ten marching festivals recognized by the CBA. The CBA State Marching Competition regionals will begin October 18, with finals taking place October 30 at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs.
The Big Cat Marching Invitational is Saturday, October 16, at 19500 West 64th Parkway; performances begin at 10 a.m. For information, visit the Big Cat website; for tickets, go to the Lakewood Performing Arts Council site; and for more on the Colorado Bandmasters Association and the upcoming state championship, visit the Colorado Bandmasters Association site.