#AES500PARADE

AES 500 Festival Parade

Marching Bands

Marching Bands
MAY 24, 2025
MAY 25, 2024

The Soundtrack to May for More Than 60 Years

The AES 500 Festival Parade has celebrated the world’s largest single-day sporting event – the Indianapolis 500. Traditionally held on the day before the Greatest Spectacle in Racing, the AES 500 Festival Parade is one of the nation’s largest, most-respected parades with a storied tradition of featuring the best bands in America. This spectacular show also includes larger-than-life floats, giant helium balloons, celebrities, and all 33 drivers competing in the Indy 500. The AES 500 Festival Parade is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that band members will never forget!

Bands selected to participate in the AES 500 Festival Parade will perform for the 200,000+ spectators that line the 1.5-mile route, which travels the streets of downtown Indianapolis. The AES 500 Festival Parade is broadcast nationally on Peacock and to the Indianapolis market on WTHR, Channel 13 (NBC affiliate). The entire Parade is also live-streamed with no breakaways via WTHR’s Band Cam – so you’ll never miss a single performer or a moment of pageantry and fanfare.

The Soundtrack to May for More Than 60 Years

The AES 500 Festival Parade has celebrated the world’s largest single-day sporting event – the Indianapolis 500. Traditionally held on the day before the Greatest Spectacle in Racing, the AES 500 Festival Parade is one of the nation’s largest, most-respected parades with a storied tradition of featuring the best bands in America. This spectacular show also includes larger-than-life floats, giant helium balloons, celebrities, and all 33 drivers competing in the Indy 500. The AES 500 Festival Parade is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that band members will never forget!

Bands selected to participate in the AES 500 Festival Parade will perform for the 200,000+ spectators that line the 2-mile route, which travels the streets of downtown Indianapolis. The AES 500 Festival Parade is broadcast nationally on Peacock and to the Indianapolis market on WTHR, Channel 13 (NBC affiliate). The entire Parade is also live-streamed with no breakaways via WTHR’s Band Cam – so you’ll never miss a single performer or a moment of pageantry and fanfare.

Applications

The AES 500 Festival Parade showcases a diverse array of bands, ranging in size and style. Each application receives thorough consideration, whether from drum and bugle corps, military bands, high school marching bands, bagpipes, or clubs. We welcome bands of all types to apply and join us in celebrating the world’s largest single-day sporting event – the Indianapolis 500.

If you’re interested in participating in a future year, the AES 500 Festival Parade is traditionally held on the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend. Explore the links below for each year’s application:

Helpful Resources

  • 38th Infantry Division Band, Indianapolis, IN – Director, Patrick Palumbo*  
  • Grand Ledge Marching Band, Grand Ledge, MI – Director, John Szczerowski  
  • Indianapolis Public Schools All-City Band, Indianapolis, IN – Director, Josh Goodman*  
  • Marine Band San Diego, San Diego, CA – Director, Craig Palmer  
  • Mater Dei Marching Wildcats, Evansville, IN (ISSMA Class D Finalist) – Director, Allison Field  
  • National Band Association’s Indiana All-Star Band, Zionsville, IN – Director, Mickey Stisher*  
  • Pendleton Heights Marching Arabians, Pendleton, IN (ISSMA Class B Finalist) – Director, Chris Taylor  
  • Purdue University “All-American” Marching Band, West Lafayette, IN – Director, Jay Gephart* 
  • Speedway High School 500 Regiment Band, Speedway, IN – Director, Amy Mohl* 
  • Spirit of Muncie Central Band and Guard, Muncie, IN (Indiana State Fair Band Day “Top 8”) – Director, Daniel Sager * 
  • The Pride of DeSoto Central Marching Band, Southaven, MS – Director, Dennis Cox* 
  • The Pride of Westfield, Westfield, IN (ISSMA Class A Finalist) – Director, Andrew Muth 
  • The Sound of Brownsburg, Brownsburg, IN (ISSMA Class A Finalist) – Director, Chris Kaflik  
  • Washington Golden Pride, Washington, IN (ISSMA Scholastic Class B) – Director, Branden Burris  
  • Western High School Marching Panthers, Russiaville, IN (ISSMA Class C Finalist) – Director, Stephan Garber

*Returning bands

Two bands have participated in every AES 500 Festival Parade that has taken place since its inception in 1957.

  • The Purdue “All-American” Marching Band serves as the Parade’s host band, assisting with band recruitment and Race Weekend details. Traditionally, the Purdue Band is the first band to appear in the AES 500 Festival Parade lineup.
  • The Speedway 500 Regiment Band, representing Speedway High School, they are the only band allowed to wear the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s Wing & Wheel logo on their uniform. Traditionally, the Speedway 500 Regiment Band is the final band to appear in the AES 500 Festival Parade lineup.

Questions about marching band participation? Contact paradeinfo@500festival.com.