Danville welcomed fans from across the country for the Brass Band Festival

Published 6:22 pm Thursday, June 9, 2022

Hundreds of locals and visitors from across the country enjoyed four days of classic brass music and great weather during the 32nd Annual Great American Brass Band Festival. For some, it was their first time and the event, while others have been attending for years.

For Danville native Travis Ruda, this year’s festival was his first time back since the event first got its start back in the early 1990s.

“I’m happy to finally make it back and excited for a weekend of great brass music,” Ruda said.

Ruda and his family said they had already partaken in some of the fun when they saw Circle City Sidewalk Stompers close down Bayou and Brass on Friday night.

This year’s festival saw many like Ruda make it back for the first time in years. However, the event greeted a large number of fans who have been coming for years, such as Alex Brown.

Brown makes the trip from Somerset almost yearly and called the festival a family tradition.

Brown, who graduated from Centre, said that as an alumnus, he loves coming out every year to reconnect with old college friends and see what’s new with the campus. The great bands and childhood nostalgia also keep Brown coming back year after year.

“I really like the music and bands,” Brown said. “Seeing the young kids play reminds me of my childhood when I would toss Frisbee and football with my friends, while my parents listened to the bands.”

Many bands and people from out of state attended the event this year. Boston Brass, Storyville Stompers and Dublin Silver Band were just a few. A large number of these bands brought their own fans who travel around with them to the commonwealth.

Jennifer Schmahl from Whittier, California, was one of them. Despite the distance between Danville and California, Schmahl has been attending the event for years and makes the long trip to watch her husband perform in the Band of the California Battalion.

Band of the California Battalion plays during Saturday’s parade. Photo by Fiona Morgan

Her husband’s group plays here nearly every year which is why Schmahl keeps coming back.

“The Great American Brass Band Festival is one of my favorite stops to make when I travel with my husband, because every year this event showcases new exciting groups that interact with the crowd and make it fun,” Schmahl said.

The 32nd annual Great American Brass Bands Festival had something for people of all ages to enjoy and brought a lot of energy to downtown Danville. 

From the Walnut Street Ramblers opening the festivities Thursday night to Boston Brass closing the show Sunday evening, the weekend was full of fun music, exciting entertainment, and great food.