Battle of the Bands in Orlando builds up to Florida Classic

High school bands from around the country took over the Amway Center on Friday night.

Twelve schools competed in the annual "Battle of the Bands" that builds up to Saturday's "Florida Classic." Their 10-minute performances showcased months of hard work.

Mario Ford, Evans High School band director, said the event is unlike Friday night football.

"The sacrifices to make the ‘Green Machine’ happen, it’s awesome to be able to see it one time all the way through with everything into it," Ford said.

The Amway Center reverberated with big sounds of drum lines and brass. The performances all included the iconic high-step routines. Jaylen Clayton, a band member at Evans High School, said the group practiced at 100% all year to put together the performance.


"It’s amazing honestly," Clayton said. "I’m really excited. It’s really nerve-wracking, but it’s exciting at the same time."

It's all part of a weekend celebrating HBCU culture. Florida Citrus Sports, one of the game's organizers, said the event draws close to 60,000 people each year with the event generating roughly $30 million in economic impact.

Tony Jenkins, Central Florida region president of Florida Blue, said it's an important community event to be a part of.

"This is the largest fundraiser for both of these of these institutions," Jenkins said. "Scholarships, funding, so it’s giving back to these two schools and the community."

The game kicks off at 3:30 p.m. Saturday at Camping World Stadium.

It’s billed as the biggest game between HBCUs in the country.