Quick Links for Parents & Fans
Ethics and Participant Protection
FAQ's for Parents & Fans

How are contest locations selected?
Every SFWGA member unit is eligible to host a contest. Host applications are available online in the summer and fall prior to the start of the season.

How are scores calculated?

Scoring is a complex process and judges must train for many years to master this art. The scoring process is based on learning theory. The highest scoring units challenge performers to learn, practice, and finally master new skills by continuously adding new and more complex work into the show. For this reason, early in the season a unit that performs perfectly may not score as high as a unit that exhibits more complex work that the performers are being challenged to master. There are multiple captions to each activity, and each caption is divided into two parts. Approximately one half of the total score is awarded on how well the show is designed relative to the performers' skills, and the other half is awarded on how well the performers execute the material.

What causes penalties?

Color Guard performances have minimum and maximum time limits: interval time, which is the total amount of time the unit is on the floor, including set-up and tear-down, and show time, which is the total time of the actual performance. Color guard has one additional element, minimum equipment time, which measures the elapsed time that equipment is in at least one performer's hands. The majority of penalties are due to overages in interval time, or being short on performance or equipment time. Other penalties may be assessed for boundary line infractions, improper use of equipment or props, or performer eligibility, among others.

What are the different scoring classifications?

The SFWGA uses the WGI Scoring system. Ensembles are grouped by general skill level with specific skill criteria defined for each group. The 4A and 3A classes are entry level classifications where performers learn basic work and are evaluated against Regional A score sheets The 2A class is a hybrid class that is evaluated against "A" class score sheets and Regional A class timing. The "A" Class is the largest class nationally, where performers have mastered the basic skills and have integrated some intermediate skills into their performances. Within the SFWGA, we separate the A class skills into "A" class for ensembles that compete locally, and National A class for ensembles that compete at WGI Regionals and Nationals. Open class participants are usually National competitors that have mastered intermediate skills as well as some advanced skills. World Class is the highest skill level, and is typically the result of highly advanced programs. Professional designers, composers, and choreographers work with performers, who are expected to have mastered all elements of the activity and are focused on exhibiting new levels of creativity in performance and design.

How are contests funded?

Admission ticket sales cover slightly less than half of contest expenses. Membership fees that units pay to join the SFWGA and contest Host franchise fees cover the most of the remaining expenses. See the "About the SFWGA" tab above for a complete breakdown of revenue and expenes.

Why aren't contests evenly distributed among Broward, Dade and Palm Beach counties?

The SFWGA depends on its member schools to offer their campuses for contests. Since the average contest can bring 50 or more school groups on campus, school administrations can be reluctant to agree to hosting a contest. Band programs and booster associations may not have adequate volunteers or resources available. Hosting a contest is a complex undertaking requiring many months of planning. The SFWGA works with all new Hosts to help plan and organize their events. All SFWGA member units are eligible to apply to host a contest.
Contest Host applications are accepted throughout the summer and early fall.

Why aren't admission prices the same at all contests?

The SFWGA sets the admission ticket prices for the Premiere, Championship Prelims and Championship Finals contests. The hosting band programs and booster organizations each set the admission prices for the remaining contests at their particular schools.
Admission prices are usually relative the expenses incurred at a particular contest.

What are my son/daughter's opions for participation with a winter guard team?
If your son or daughter attends an elementary, middle, or high school that fields a member unit with the SFWGA, then they are only eligble to perform with that team. The SFWGA encourages and supports independent teams for high school graduates, college students, and for students whose school does not field a winter guard team. Please refer to our Policies and Procedures document (above) for a complete breakdown of eligibility rules.

Why can't I make a video recording of my son/daughter's performance?
US Copyright laws guarantee that music composers, artists, and publishers have the right to control every aspect of the music tracks they create.The SFWGA has competition and concert music licenses from ASCAP and BMI for all of our contests. These licenses specifically prohibit any spectator video recording that includes the music track. Recording any aspect of a performance is a violation of our license terms, and could result in the revocation of permissions for one or more units.

Why do some performance times change during the week before a contest?

Preliminary performance times are first posted following the add/drop membership period in December. However, units may continue to enter or withdraw from contests throughout the season. Also, as performance skills improve, units may be re-classified into a new competitive classification that is more appropriate for their skill level. The final official performance times are available on this website and the mobile phone site by noon on Friday before each contest.

Gina Rose Montalto Memorial Foundation

On the afternoon of February 14, 2018, a mass shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School injured thirty-four students and staff members.

Tragically, seventeen of those lost their lives, including SFWGA Winter Guard performer
Gina Montalto.

Gina's parents have created a memorial foundation to honor Gina's memory through donations to causes that Gina supported, and to help students with the cost of post-secondary education.