Honda Battle of the Bands
The Honda Battle of the Bands (sometimes abbreviated The Honda or HBOB) is an annual marching band exhibition in the United States which features performances by bands from historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs). Sponsored by the American Honda Motor Company, the Invitational Showcase takes place in the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Georgia in late January.
The Honda Battle of the Bands Celebration Tour takes place between the months of September and November at regular season football games, although Honda Battle of the Bands (and its abbreviations) is often intended to refer only to the invitational showcase, which first took place in 2003. Seemingly contradictory to the name, Honda's "battle" is not a competition in the traditional sense; that is, no winner is crowned during the event. Rather, the bands compete for the favor of the audience, each other, and the greater community. The 2016 event had a nearly sold out crowd with 63,000+ fans and spectators in attendance.
|The fictitious BET Big Southern Classic from the 2002 film Drumline was based on the HBOB.|
The Honda Battle of the Bands program includes two components — the Voting Process, which runs September through October, and the "Honda Battle of the Bands Invitational Showcase".
Voting: The first band will be selected by popular vote (i.e. the top overall vote-getter will be selected regardless of category). The next three bands will be selected, one from each category by a weighted vote of 1/3 from institution president, band director and online opinion poll from category I, II and III. The categories being 128 instruments or less, 129 instruments up to 160 and 161 or more. This count is total instrument count, no auxiliaries, drum majors, etc. but will include percussion.
- a. Online Opinion Poll at hondabattleofthebands.com -- 1/3 weight
- b. Band Directors’ Votes -- 1/3 weight
- c. Presidents’ Votes -- 1/3 weight
Note: Presidents and Band Directors are not permitted to vote for their own institutions.
American Honda and Urban Sports & Entertainment Group will select the final four bands based on, but not limited to:
- a. Showmanship
- b. Social Media Buzz
- c. Years of previous participation in the Celebration Tour
Once all the votes are tallied, a total of 8 bands are invited to perform their carefully choreographed, halftime time routines in front of 50,000+ fans.
Started in 2003, the Honda Battle of the Bands was created to celebrate, support and recognize the excellence of Black college marching bands and the unique academic experience offered by Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). Honda annually awards more than $205,000 in grants to participating marching bands during the program period and facilitates a HBCU recruitment fair preceding the band showcase.
The following HBCUs have participated in the Honda Invitational Showcase, with Bethune-Cookman University leading with eleven appearances:
- The fictitious BET Big Southern Classic from the 2002 film Drumline was similar to the HBOB, with the main difference that the Big Southern Classic was a competition with a declared winner. The HBOB is an invitational showcase and there are no official winners.
- In its inaugural year, Honda did not invite two bands per conference.
- Tennessee State competes in the Ohio Valley Conference, which is not an HBCU conference, and as such is considered an independent.
- Starting in 2010, Honda only invited 8 bands to perform.