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KU's Heart of America Marching Band Festival canceled because of expected inclement weather

Members of the Lawrence Free State Marching Firebirds compete Saturday, Oct. 12, 2013, during the 22nd annual Heart of America Marching Band Festival at Memorial Stadium.

This weekend’s 26th annual Heart of America Marching Band Festival has been canceled because of forecasts of inclement weather, the University of Kansas announced Friday.

In a news release, KU Marching Jayhawks director Matt Smith said the threat of lightning, rain and potential damage to instruments, electronic equipment and uniforms all influenced the decision.

“Our number one consideration is the safety and well-being of the participants, directors and families involved,” Smith said in the release. “This is a very important event for the KU Band Program so the decision was a difficult one. We received several inquiries about the weather over the last few days, as it can impact the travel decisions of bands, especially those that have to travel from far away.”

KU, along with the Northeast Music Educators Association and Kansas City-area Meyer Music stores, host the annual event. More than 20 bands from across Kansas and Missouri, including Free State High and Lawrence High, were expected to perform at KU’s Memorial Stadium as part of the festivities Saturday.

This year’s Heart of America Marching Band Festival will not be rescheduled, the news release said.

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