SPEEDWAY, Ind.- Some of the marching bands invited to perform at this year's Indianapolis 500 festivities are upset over planned changes to where they will watch the race.
Some band members and their families thought they would be sitting in reserved seats in the grandstands like it has been in the past. However, due to high demand for tickets this year, the marching bands and their families will sit in the infield, at a special VIP section of risers between the third and fourth turns.
Eighteen marching bands from around the state and country, some as far as Washington state, will perform at this year's race. Some will also be featured as part of the Indianapolis 500 Festival Parade.
Purdue University Bands, which is responsible for coordinating which bands are invited to perform, says the bands have always sat in the grandstands, at least in recent history.
Purdue Bands spokeswoman Courtney Downey issued this statement:
"As we have been for 97 years, Purdue Bands is delighted to be a part of what is, without question, the world's greatest motorsports event. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway reimburses Purdue Bands for its service, which makes this opportunity possible for our students. We are thrilled that the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 is drawing such huge crowds, and we look forward to the Purdue "All-American" Marching Band proudly representing our university in front of more fans than ever."
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway also issued a statement:
"We have a great partnership with everyone that comes to IMS as part of the 'Parade of bands' coordinated by the Purdue Marching Band. This year, participants received over 2,000 of the hottest tickets in town. These tickets will give them access to a special VIP riser between Turns 3 and 4 with views of the track. Following their participation in our world-famous pre-race program, band members will have a chance to take in the 100th Running of the Indy 500 in a way that many people--now facing a sellout--won't. It's an incredibly memorable day few people get to experience and this year it will be even more special given we're celebrating the 100th Running. We also supply food and beverage for all participants and parents who they bring along. And the Purdue Marching Band does receive a stipend to cover any costs they incur. We can't wait to see all band members on Race Day. While it's unfortunate some participants are upset, we're confident they'll think differently after the experience of a lifetime for the 100th Running."